To develop the Atlas, the researchers also interviewed PEB building designers in four different European Union climatic areas.
“Through these discussions we collected valuable experiences and insights into PEB practices and identified some of the challenges to achieving a successful PEB design,” said RMIT Europe researcher Iván Luque Segura.
“Interestingly, the designers also revealed how cultural habits, such as showering, laundry or cooking practices, socio-economic factors and different climates can impact upon a building’s energy balance.”
The Atlas combines this first-hand knowledge with scientific data through analytical maps, data layers and interactive graphics – allowing the user to cross-reference and compare different content and parameters, such as climate patterns and cultural behaviours.
“You might expect less of an energy demand for household cooling in the milder parts of Europe, but in this aspect, we can see through the maps that there is actually an upward trend,” said Luque Segura.
“This could be a reflection on what people in northern or central Europe perceive to be a comfortable indoor environment – this kind of insight can influence changes in building design to avoid overheating, for example, and therefore the need to waste energy.”
Available for free (under registration), the online tool is expected to see market uptake by 2030 and impact upon future building design.
“We hope the Atlas becomes a useful guide for the PEB community by providing resources to allow designers to integrate household and practice diversity to come up with different sets of conditions according to specific profiles,” said Professor Ralph Horne from RMIT University’s College of Design and Social Context.
The PEB community is invited to visit the Atlas website to experience the tool first-hand and provide their valuable feedback to the Cultural-E research team to support the continuous development of the initiative.