Natural stone walls in vernacular architecture: What contribution towards rural nZEB concept?

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Abstract

Rural housing, with its vernacular characteristics related to landscape, constitutes a heritage resource and plays a key role in the cultural and physical production of countryside identity. This paper explores the energy performances of a traditional rural house with granite stone walls, located in Cova da Beira, Portugal. The analysis on thermal properties of granite walls and energy consumption patterns and the simulation of potential solar energy supply have been performed using Autodesk® Ecotect®. Findings show that the zero energy balance of rural housing can be achieved by means of some energy efficiency improvements and solar energy integration. This research aims to stimulate the debate about «(re)thinking» the background of existing vernacular architecture, reflecting the need and benefits of improving global energy performances and give an outlook towards a new "Nearly Zero-Energy Building" (nZEB) concept for rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin de La Société Géographique de Liège
Volume65
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Energy efficiency
  • Granite wall
  • NZEB
  • Rural housing
  • Solar energy
  • Vernacular architecture

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