The Application of Evidence-Based Design in Building Sustainability: Bridging the gap between Research and Design - a Theoretical Study

Ramadan, Amal, Kamel Ahmed, Ehab orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6737-9356, Chow, David, Lu, Jun and Heath, Tim (2012) The Application of Evidence-Based Design in Building Sustainability: Bridging the gap between Research and Design - a Theoretical Study. In: The 3RD Internationl Symposium on Low Carbon Building (ISLCB), 27-28 October 2012, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), Ningbo, China. (Unpublished)

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Built environment designers have intuitively known the value of design decisions on the quality of human experiences. Social and behavioural scientists have added to this a body of research that increases the understanding on how design impacts these experiences. As culture is considered to be the way people do things in a certain place, much of cultural studies consider physical environment as tangible and persistent artefact with which building’s users continuously interact. The built-environment is at once the context for behaviour, and influence the behaviour. Culture is said to be powerful and persistent.
Sustainable environmental design- as a discipline concerned with balancing the built environment with its context- is commonly based on integrating the most efficient and cost-effective sustainable technologies, some designer integrates passive and active environmental design solutions, if adequate. Whereas, to a great extent, the choices of environmental solutions alternatives still depend only on the designer’s vision and his/her own experience.
Evidence-Based Design (EBD) is a design process used to answer design dilemmas through the use of reliable evidences and validated local facts, mainly used in hospitals’ design. It is a process for grounding design decisions via credible research, to achieve the best possible outcomes.
This paper claims that the application of evidence-based strategies into the environmental design, the choice of applied sustainable technologies, and the selection of materials and energy resources, would proliferate the likelihoods of the design success.
The paper investigates theoretically the opportunities and the benefits of using evidence-based design methods in the environmental design process; through analysing, classifying/comparing and discussing relevant literature. Additionally the paper displays selected unsuccessful environmental design examples, related to social habits and believes, finding out the common reasons that caused this failure, in order to emphasise the importance of considering more socio-cultural related investigative techniques, to enhance the environmental design outcomes.
The paper provides recommendations on the opportunities of utilising evidence-based strategies to support the environmental design, and points out how these strategies might be used in establishing a scope in sustainable architectural design.
In general, this paper claims that introducing evidence-based methods, to the sustainable architectural design practice, will enhance the equilibrium between of the environmental-design and its socio-cultural context; enhance buildings’ performance, and conserve the eco-environment. In this process technology and cultural framework are two pivotal factors balancing the aspects needed for the environmental design equilibrium.

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