Journal article

An innovative architectural strategy for the integration of energy issues into the design process of a commercial center in Switzerland

In a context of growing efforts to develop sustainability strategies, energy-related issues occupy central stage in the built environment. Thus, the energy performance of housings has improved radically over the past decades. Yet other types of buildings, in particular commercial centers, haven’t received the same level of interest. As a result, there is a need for effective and practical measures to decrease their energy consumption, both for heating and electricity. The objective of the paper is to demonstrate that it is possible, through coherent strategies, to integrate energy issues and bioclimatic principles into the design process of commercial centers. It analyzes the exemplary case study of Marin Commercial Center (Switzerland). The interdisciplinary approach, based on integrated design strategies, aimed at increasing the energy efficiency while keeping the cost comparable to the market cost. The main design principles include natural ventilation, nighttime cooling with energy recovery and natural lighting, as well as optimization of mechanical systems. The results of the simulations show that Marin Center attains the best energy performance observed so far among Swiss commercial centers. It also meets the Swiss Minergie standard. The paper thus questions traditional design processes and outlines the need for interdisciplinary evaluation and monitoring approaches tailored for commercial centers. Even though most crucial decisions are taken during the early stages, all phases of the process require systematic optimization strategies, especially operating stages. Recommendations include legal measures, in particular in the fields of ventilation and air-conditioning, education, professional development and technology.

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