Building conversations up with Carmen Sánchez-Guevara
BUILDING CONVERSATIONS UP with... Carmen Sánchez-Guevara, Associate Professor - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
Associate Professor - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. PhD Architect. She belongs to the Bioclimatic Architecture in a Sustainable Environment Research Group based in the technical University of Madrid. Her research focuses on energy poverty from the perspective of the right to habitability and thermal comfort in housing. She is currently the principal investigator in the UPM of the European funded projects EPIU and BUILDSPACE and coordinates COOLTORISE. She has participated in a total of 16 research projects, 22 scientific articles, 8 books and 26 conference presentations.
BUILD UP: Could you define ‘bioclimatic architecture’ and how it is linked to the improvement of building occupants' comfort?
CARMEN SÁNCHEZ-GUEVARA: Bioclimatic architecture represents the accumulation of years of experience in building construction, reaching its maximum potential for climate adaptation and therefore, the utilisation of natural resources to achieve habitable conditions for its occupants. For me, the great value of bioclimatic architecture today lies in its passive nature, its ability to achieve the best comfort conditions for its occupants with minimal resource consumption.
BUP: Is building occupants' comfort well addressed in energy policies and tools (such as EPCs)?
CSG: Current tools for assessing the energy efficiency of buildings are primarily focused on CO2 emissions (understandable in part due to the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and non-renewable primary energy consumption. However, these values do not adequately reflect the ability of buildings to provide habitable conditions for their occupants. For example, we do not know the number of hours of comfort that can be achieved in winter or summer without using heating or cooling systems, in a building with an A energy label.