The world’s building sector is currently responsible for one-third of global CO2 emissions. Buildings also provide stable indoor climates designed for human comfort. Paradoxically, these two facts work against one another: the carbon emitted to provide comfortable indoor climates leads to global warming.
While Adaptive Thermal Comfort (ATC), also referred to as mixed-mode building, is a new paradigm for climate change adaptation and building comfort, its understanding and application is limited in the United States.
Recipient of a prestigious 2019-2020 Fulbright Scholar Award to Australia, Associate Professor of Architecture Andrew Cruse will carry out his research “Promoting Indoor Climate Change” at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) from March to June 2020. Cruse will collaborate with Leena Thomas, professor at the UTS, who co-developed the Building Occupant Survey System Australia (BOSSA), to explore ways to reduce building energy by allowing indoor climates to vary based on exterior weather.
“I propose to use the BOSSA database to identify buildings whose architectural design encourages adaptive ideas of thermal comfort,” stated Cruse. “My hypothesis is that the spatial intelligence embedded in buildings contributes to improved building comfort and reduced energy consumption in ways that are not currently captured by building performance rating systems.”
Cruse’s research methodology will involve the study of spatial and temporal organization supporting adaptive comfort through a detailed drawn analysis supported by text, and supplemented by interviews with the clients and design teams. These two methods of research—drawn analysis and interviews—complement one another in that they address the technical and social dimensions of comfort.
Cruse’s research and collaboration with Thomas will result in a co-authored publication, which will redress the lack of case studies and design tools for mixed-mode buildings in the United States, and future collaboration between Ohio State and UTS.
“Formulating a response to global climate change is, I believe, an ethical imperative and a creative challenge for which architects are well suited,” stated Cruse. “Today, as an academic, I research and work with architectural comfort because it entangles the creative and the technical, connecting individual life experiences of buildings, landscapes and cities to larger, more abstract ideas of climate change.”
The Fulbright Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.