Energy Performance of Public Housing Buildings in Sao Paulo, Brazil An Evaluation of the Current Design Process

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
With global warming and its impact on the environment becoming more evident, sustainability has become a major factor to lessen the damage being produced by men. Numerous are the reasons why sustainability is hard to achieve and various are the culprits for environmental damage. Among all, buildings have been identified as one of the biggest causes to environmental damage. On one hand, attention has been drawn to astounding designs that trespass human imagination. On the other hand, the worldwide population increase forced the implementation of mass production constructions to solve housing deficits. Frequently, buildings for the underprivileged lack design, compromising the environment and the achievement of sustainability. This is especially true in developing societies. This research examines how public housing design has been produced to attend low income populations in Sao Paulo, Brazil and how much changes in the existing design affects the quality of the dwellings and energy consumption. The hypothesis of this research is that energy efficient architecture concepts applied to the current design of public housing in Sao Paulo are able to reduce energy consumption in the buildings. In this study, computer simulations are used to evaluate current energy performance of public housing buildings as well as to simulate the incorporation of new materials into the design and assess their performance. The findings showed that there are many opportunities for architects to influence the quality of the design being produced for less fortunate populations in public housing buildings in Sao Paulo, which positively impact comfort conditions of the buildings and most important, reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent.
energy performance, public housing buildings, Brazil, design process, environmental impact, global warming, sustainability, energy consumption