Developing a Method for Integrated Sustainable Design (ISD)

Mathilde Landgren

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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In recent decades, there has been increased focus on reducing the energy consumption of buildings in operation to limit the use of fossil fuels and related emissions. As a result of continuously tightening and tuning building energy regulations it is now realised among experts, researchers, and politicians, that a limit has been reached. As a result, the focus has recently changed to address emissions from the entire life cycle of the buildings. Sustainable buildings then became a much more complex matter. The complexity of the built environment places great responsibility on the design team to deal which must now include more specialised knowledge in a wider range of sustainability topics. Integrated design that uses more technical input in the design process is the best way for different specialists, within energy performance, indoor climate comfort, LCC and LCA, to collaborate with the design team and to thereby implement the information that is needed to ensure more sustainable buildings. The Integrated Energy Design (IED) method had been developed prior to this PhD research and was intended to ensure that technical input in the initial design phase would influence later decisions that determined energy consumption. Sustainable design implies quantification of design decisions to ensure knowledge-based design. Architects must also be able to quantify architectural quality to support their design decisions. DGNB can be used as a tool to create a reference framework for comparison and quantification.
The PhD research was conducted in this context. It investigated whether the inclusion of LCC and LCA in the IED-method is possible, to create a more sustainable design method. By combining the familiar Integrated Energy Design (IED) method with the DGNB certification system criteria, a method for Integrated Sustainable Design (ISD) was developed, with the goal of combining the design process with the sustainability process in a project, to ensure quantifiable documentation of the sustainability ranking of a design project, without compromising its architectural quality. The aim was to use digital engineering tools that use technical knowledge to inform the design process, and to show that knowledge-based design will ensure sustainable architecture.
Mixed methods were used through this PhD research. Questionnaires completed by staff working at architectural offices and interviews with sustainability experts were used to determine the state-of-the-art in sustainable architecture and implementation of technical knowledge in the architectural design process. The literature and a set of existing case projects at JJW were mapped to identify the state-of-the art in sustainability elsewhere and the degree of sustainability in JJW projects. This was followed by case studies, where the PhD researcher actively participated in design teams to provide technical input, whose effects were observed and analysed upon. The case studies were supported by questionnaires and interviews at JJW. From these studies, the ISD-method was developed.
It was found that IED is currently an integrated part of the design culture, due to the historically increased focus on energy performance in Danish building regulations. However, a mapping of IED against DGNB shows that only a few DGNB criteria are directly fulfilled, so a new method is needed to ensure more sustainable buildings. The IED method was expanded to include LCC and LCA, to increase the level of sustainability. The Danish Description of Service was used as the basis for the ISD design method, to ensure easy implementation in practice and to allow the method to be applied across more design phases, instead of just the initial design phase that is the sole focus of the IED-method. This thesis examined the implementation of ISD at JJW, but the ISD-method is a generic design method that can be adapted for use in any architectural office.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages262
ISBN (Electronic)9788778774958
Publication statusPublished - 2018
SeriesB Y G D T U. Rapport


  • Integrated Sustainable Design
  • Sustainable Architecture
  • Case study research
  • Work culture profile
  • Life Cycle Cost
  • Life Cycle Assessment

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