Symbiosis : Sustainable Design + Consulting, is a leading, innovative, high performance design, architectural engineering, research, and consulting firm, developing projects with throughout the world.
This blog is meant as a forum for discussion, and stimulus for generating research, about innovative methods to improve the performance of building environments. Significant events of the company will also be posted to keep readers informed of the progress of the company
Symbiosis Principal Giancarlo Mangone's new book on performative microforests explores innovative research into the economic, social, and ecological performance benefits of integrating natural environments into office buildings, and describes why microforests are more effective sustainable solutions than other typical green building strategies, such as green roofs and green walls. Through both an in-depth review of existing literature and the presentation of cutting edge research conducted by the author, a diverse range of novel benefits that can be attained from integrating microforests into buildings are investigated. Integrating forests into buildings can reduce construction and operation costs, resource consumption rates, improve occupant productivity, creativity, and well-being, while also improving the health of local ecosystems.
Microforests can help improve the economic, social, and ecological performance of buildings, occupants, and local communities.
The paperback version of this book is now available on amazon.com The digital version of this book is now available on the TU Delft Architecture and the Built Environment's website
forests into buildings can reduce construction and operation costs, improve
occupant productivity, creativity, and well-being, while also improving the
health of local ecosystems.Learn how
the design of microforests in buildings can provide a diverse range of
economic, social, and ecological benefits at Symbiosis Principal Giancarlo Mangone’s PhD lecture and thesis
defense at the Senaatszaal room in the Aula auditorium, at Delft University of Technology, 12pm
on October 29th.
Semi-outdoor courtyard designed for high worker + building performance
Diverse natural environments improve worker performance for a range of work tasks, according to a new study presented at ARCC 2015 in Chicago by Symbiosis principal Giancarlo Mangone. The results of this study indicate that current work environments are ineffective at promoting worker performance. Companies can substantially increase their profits, and improve worker well being, by incorporating innovative, higher performance workspaces. To this end, a number of natural environments have been found to be particularly effective. For more information about this research project, visit the lecture at 9:00 in the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, on April 8, 2015.
Working in a vegetated environment was found to significantly improve the participants' thermal comfort, in a quasi experiment that was published in a recent issue of the peer reviewed scientific journal, Building and Environment(click the link for a free copy of the article until Oct. 1, 2014)
The participants' thermal comfort increased even in more extreme temperatures. Thus, the integration of a microforest, or densely vegetated spatial environment, in an office building can reduce building energy use, by allowing the temperature setpoint to be raised in the summer and lowered in the winter.
The results were based on a year long thermal comfort quasi experiment conducted in 2013 with approximately 70 office workers in The Netherlands, in which half of the participants had extensive vegetation in their workspace, while the other half didn't.
The operative temperature was varied throughout each testing period (one month per season). Plants were found to significantly improve occupant thermal comfort, including temperatures that were warmer and cooler than they were accustomed to.
The results of this research indicate that incorporating microforests into buildings not only reduces energy costs, but also can make the building more resilient to mechanical failures, peak loads, the effects of climate change, etc. Potential additional benefits include reducing mechanical equipment sizing, and increasing worker productivity and well being.
Rendering Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
The 'Urban Mountain', our design team's winning submission, was awarded first place in Norway's Nordic Built Challenge. The jury commented that the 'Urban Mountain' "merges architectural design and environmental strategies in a manner no other entry quite reaches", it "insists on setting a new standard"
In order to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding performance rating, as well as integrate nature into the performance and experience of the project, Giancarlo Mangone developed an innovative vegetation integrated thermal chimney advanced natural ventilation and air filtration system. This system was developed from strategies and results from his ongoing PhD research at TU Delft, and resulted in the incorporation of plants to filter the interior and exterior air, as well as provide spatial natural environments. This integration of natural environments was developed in a way that improved worker creativity and productivity, energy consumption rates, indoor air quality, interior daylighting potential, occupant thermal comfort, as well as provided high performance work spaces. The project also addressed the local ecosystem's ecological integrity by providing microhabitat patches for various local flora and fauna, and raises occupants ecological awareness through the provision of opportunities for direct interaction between people and a dynamic range of local habitats and biota. These benefits improved the economic, energy, worker, and ecological performance of the project, and resulted in an innovative, high performance design solution.
The Nordic Built Challenge asked design teams to renovate a 25 story office building in downtown Oslo, Norway. The performance goal of the competition was to develop 'the most environmentally friendly rehabilitated building complex in the Nordic Region', and set 'a new design standard with bases in economy, environmental innovation and life cycle principles, for holistic rehabilitation of an existing, high rise office building. The design proposal must address Cradle to Cradle standards, and work towards being rated as BREEAM Excellent or Outstanding.
Symbiosis Principal Giancarlo Mangone was invited to write an industry article on his PhD research for the Dutch National Mechanical Engineering Organization TVVL's magazine. The article was featured as the cover story of the June 2013 edition of the magazine. The research project is focused on how the design of buildings can improve the performance of building environments, with particular focus on how to design building projects to minimize building energy use and construction and operating costs, as well as improve the space efficiency of the building, occupant creativity and comfort, and the ecological integrity of the local ecosystem.
High performing solutions to these problems are developed and evaluated in this research project through the design of microforests within existing buildings and new construction projects. By integrating natural environments and processes into buildings and building infrastructure systems, previously unachievable performance benefits are achieved. To find out more, read the article here
This innovative design support system will be explained through a presentation of a case study Symbiosis generated for a developer in Amsterdam. Using
a renovation for a typical existing, mid-size Dutch commercial office building, the
performance and applicability of this design support system was evaluated.
Design solutions that improved the performance of the project in a myriad of performance parameters were developed, including economic performance, worker performance, and ecological performance. A standardized performance
chart, along with more detailed text guidelines, was developed for each design solution.
These tools offer a method to compare the performance of the design solutions, which
provides design teams with the opportunity to effectively and efficiently
determine which design solutions and strategies are most suitable for their
project. Thus, design teams, developers, and building owners can utilize this
toolkit to make informed design decisions that result in higher performing
buildings, improved employee performance and comfort, and improved local
biodiversity and ecoligical integrity
In the Netherlands, 14% of existing office
buildings are vacant. 60% of these buildings remain vacant for more than three
years, thereby becoming out-dated and unable to provide adequate work
environments for prospective tenants.
renovating existing office buildings with the shared goal of improving local biodiversity,
building performance and costs, company revenues, and worker performance and
comfort, the performance of each of these project parameters can be improved, while
providing more appealing and accommodating office spaces.
Attend the conference in September to learn more about how to reduce building costs, increase company revenue, improve worker performance and comfort, and improve the local ecosystem through architecture.