Biophilic and photobiological developments of adaptive high-performance building envelopes for Northern Canada

Authors: Parsaee, Mojtaba
Advisor: Demers, Claude; Lalonde, Jean-FrançoisHébert, Marc
Abstract: Sub-Arctic building envelope configurations must address occupants' photobiological-psychological wellbeing through positive relationships with the outdoor sub-Arctic nature. Existing building envelopes in Northern Canada's (sub-)Arctic climates have not, yet, enabled efficient indoor-outdoor connections to address positive human-nature relationships and photobiological-psychological wellbeing. Efficient indoor-outdoor connections indicate optimum connectivity of indoors with Northern climates in terms of occupants' wellbeing and energy factors. Positive occupants' relationships with the sub-Arctic nature refer to maximum benefits and minimum risks of the extreme cold weather and strong photoperiod of Northern climates for photo-biological and psychological wellbeing. The general objective of this dissertation is to foster positive occupants' relationships with sub-Arctic nature by enabling efficient indoor-outdoor connections which could respond to biophilic and photobiological wellbeing factors related to daylighting and photoperiods. To this end, a fundamental model of adaptive high-performance building envelopes is developed as an architectural solution which could optimize indoor-outdoor connections and main biophilic and photobiological indicators. The dissertation specifically aimed at articulating a photobiological approach to biophilic design in extreme Northern climates which enables establishing a conceptual and design framework to develop building envelopes. The thesis also focused on identifying the shortcomings of existing Canadian Northern building envelopes as well as existing adaptive envelope systems in terms of biophilicphotobiological indicators. Main architectural elements of adaptive envelopes including window configuration and surface characteristics of shading systems, in particular color and reflectance, are explored to respond to Northern occupants' biophilic-photobiological needs. The thesis methodologies include a scoping literature review to critically discuss recent biophilic design guidelines, photobiological lighting, and nature connectedness/relatedness studies in relation to sub-Arctic climates, especially daylighting and photoperiods. Numerical and experimental methods were integrated to evaluate biophilic, photobiological lighting, thermal and energy performance of envelope systems for a case study of an open-plan office in Northern Canada. Experimental methods with physical scale models, high dynamic range imagery and post-processing techniques were employed to capture, compute, and visualize photobiological lighting parameters. Impacts of shading panels' (SPs) characteristics on photobiological lighting performance were explored by experimenting approximately 40 1:50-scale prototypes and 23 1:10-scale prototypes under clear/overcast skies with actual/artificial daylighting. Numerical models were developed to evaluate biophilic and thermal/energy performance of envelope systems. Dissertation outcomes include a theoretical-conceptual framework of photobiological-biophilic design which characterizes positive occupants' relationships with the sub-Arctic nature through envelopes. Photobiological lighting adaptation scenarios integrated with thermal requirements were developed which could address hourly/seasonal photobiological needs of Northern occupants in different buildings. Deficiencies of typical single-skin envelopes in Northern Canada and multi-skin envelopes with different depths of intermediate spaces/cavities and window sizes were specifically evaluated in terms of biophilic, photobiological lighting and thermal indicators. A fundamental model of adaptive high-performance envelopes is proposed for Northern buildings which includes an optimum window size, a dynamic-colored-insulated shading system, and a thermal buffer system made of a glazing exterior skin. Photobiological lighting performance of SPs' configurations, including color, reflectance, orientation, inclination, density, size, openness, and position at the window, were characterized. Results of experimental-numerical elevations reveal that the proposed adaptive envelope could offer efficient indoor-outdoor connections which respond to Northern occupants' photobiological-psychological needs and energy requirements. Dissertation outcomes could enlighten architects and policymakers about potentials of adaptive envelopes and integrative photobiological-biophilic frameworks to improve public wellbeing and energy efficiency in Northern climates. Major issues for future developments of adaptive biophilic buildings in Northern climates were also outlined including life cycle assessments and sociocultural studies.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 8 March 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/68405
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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