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CASE Open Lecture: Professor Sue Roaf, Heriot-Watt University

The next CASE Open Lecture will be given by Professor Sue Roaf, from Heriot-Watt University on Tuesday 20 March at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

How to Design a Comfortable Building

Comfort is a very costly business. Around 40% of global GDP is spent on buildings, for their construction, operation and demolition and most goes in keeping buildings cool or warm enough to occupy – using air-conditioning and central heating systems. That was fine in the age of cheap 20th century energy but as fossil fuels become less affordable – how will we afford to stay comfortable in the increasingly unstable and extreme weather, political and economic systems we occupy?  We need now to re-learn how to design buildings that can keep people thermally and economically safe in difficult times, not least in a warming world when so many modern buildings are over heating badly. This talk covers issues related to how and why many modern buildings fail to do so and describes a range basic Comfort Design Tools.  It proposes a three step method for designing comfortable buildings, based on lessons learnt while developing the adaptive approach to thermal comfort and describes a range of fundamental opportunities and planning methods for use during early comfortable buildings design stages.  It then outlines a few useful mind-set mantras that might help the designer in the process.

Sue Roaf gained her first degree in Architecture in 1975 at Manchester University. She subsequently went on to gain her Diploma in Architecture at the Architectural Association in London where she also took her Part 3 professional exam in 1978. In 1989 she was awarded a PhD for her study of the Windcatches of the Central Persian Desert from Oxford Brookes University where she taught from 1989 to 2005 both in professional studies, technology and design. She has practiced for a number of years on the design of housing, schools, hospitals and town planning.

She is best known as a designer for her Oxford Ecohouse which was the first UK building with an integrated photovoltaic roof. She is an award winning designer, teacher and author and is Co-Chair of TIA, the International Teachers in Architecture organisation and Co-Chair of the Westminster Carbon Counting Group. She began teaching at Heriot Watt in 2007 in the School of the Built Environment.

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