Thermal comfort of buildings and their occupants - Dialogue between Nature, Textiles and Architecture

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Marlene CouceiroCristina Carvalho

Abstract: Our research has the general objective of combating thermal discomfort and improving the interaction between the user and the space, through the application of new materials. Textiles have been used in architecture since mankind began to build. One of the advantages of their use is that they improve thermal comfort without increasing energy consumption. Our daily life imposes on us a fast pace, and textiles try to keep up with this movement. However, the floors and coverings of the spaces do not reflect this speed. We estimate a benefit referring to an improvement in terms of user's comfort, if our building could adapt to the situations to which it is subjected, reversibly changing according to the circumstances to which it is exposed. We intend to observe Nature, with the aim of presenting strategies, which can contribute to finding alternative solutions, which accompany these changes, especially meteorological ones.The fur, feathers and scales, the body wrapping of animals, function similarly to the skin of humans, and have different functions (protection, communication, sensation, thermoregulation). Analysis of their protective and regulatory functions provide a starting point, for experiments in textiles and buildings. In this research we will focus on animal cooling and heating techniques, to try to find solutions, based on fauna and flora observation, to formulate possible textile and architectural applications. We will also observe some climatic zones with exaggerated characteristics, to understand how the human being has adapted to these places.It is by no means intended to exhaust the subject, however we will indicate some behavioral strategies and anatomical features that help animals regulate their body temperature. Whenever possible trying to correlate with already existing examples in textiles and Architecture. This article analyzes the possibilities of integrating some animal characteristics, in textiles and coatings with the objective of improving its thermal performance. We believe that by changing the color or applying new materials incorporated into the structures of our clothing or the coatings of our buildings, we can achieve our purpose: to improve thermal comfort. The use of darker shades, allow to absorb more solar radiation and heat the human body or the walls of houses. While the use of lighter shades, contribute to a greater reflection of sunlight, which allows to avoid the heating of the surfaces, favoring the reduction of temperature. We intend with this study to understand the dynamics of Nature, to understand how it solves its problems, to understand its general process of efficiency, to observe its diversity and complexity, with the objective of taking advantage of this inexhaustible source of inspiration for Design, for Textiles, for Architecture. It seems possible to improve the thermal comfort of buildings and their occupants through the production and application of responsive materials.

Keywords: Textiles, Innovation, Temperature, Smart-materials, Colour, Architecture, Dynamic structures, Nature, Sustainability

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001556

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