Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
Energy consumption in Portuguese buildings has been increasing over the last few years, at an average annual rate, from 1990 to 2000, of 3,7%, in residential buildings and of 7,1%, in services buildings. This trend goes against the objectives established by the European Commission for the year 2010, whose purpose was to reduce by 20% energetic consumption in households . Apart from the relevance of the thermal quality of buildings’ envelope, which is regulated since 1991 by the Portuguese Building Thermal Regulation (RCCTE), it is a well-known fact that urban planning can play a very important role in the creation of favourable microclimatic conditions, for the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings, as well as for the attainment of thermal comfort in public spaces.
This work intends to present strategies and explore the advantages of adding bioclimatic principles to land use plans for the northern part of the Portuguese western coast. It will try to demonstrate that a Municipal Master Plan without bioclimatic concerns can lead to an inadequate urban design practice. A plan with these concerns lays down special requirements to ensure the equilibrium of an intervention in a given location, taking environmental agents into account. It is important to establish and gather essential guidelines for a correct urban environment for the buildings in order to achieve energy efficiency and to optimize the quality of the urban environment from a bioclimatic point of view and, consequently, to promote environmental sustainability. This paper presents the results of some preliminary tasks of a wider research work that is being carried out at the University of Porto, Portugal. For a specific area of the Portuguese coast, a diagnosis of the existing land use and a draft definition of strategies will be presented.
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