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Architects design process in solar-integrated

architecture in Sweden
a a a
Jouri Kanters , Marie-Claude Dubois & Maria Wall
Lund University, Energy & Building Design , Slvegatan 24, Box 118, Lund , 221 00 , Sweden
Published online: 14 May 2012.

To cite this article: Jouri Kanters , Marie-Claude Dubois & Maria Wall (2013) Architects design process in solar-integrated
architecture in Sweden, Architectural Science Review, 56:2, 141-151, DOI: 10.1080/00038628.2012.681031
To link to this article:


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Architectural Science Review, 2013
Vol. 56, No. 2, 141 151,

A rchitects' design process in solarintegrated architecture in Sweden

Jouri K anters , MarieC laude D ubois and Maria Wall
L und University, E nergy & Building D esign, Solvegatan 24, Box 118, L und 221 00 Sweden

A rchitects can play a key role in future solarintegrated architecture as they are involved in the building process from the
beginning. Solarintegrated architecture takes both passive and active use of solar energy into account. T he aim of this research
was to gain insight into the actual design processes of solarintegrated buildings. T herefore, semistructured interviews were
conducted with Swedish architects who designed such buildings. R esults showed that teamwork was experienced as crucial
and building performance simulation tools were hardly used by the architects themselves. R esults from these interviews serve
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as input for the development of new architectural guidelines for designing solarintegrated architecture as part of IE A SHC
Task 41: Solar E nergy & A rchitecture.
K eywords: D esign process; architectural design; solar energy; teamwork; design tools

I ntroduction and parametric approach (Hansen and K nudstrup 2008).

In the last decade, sustainable architecture has grown from With the parametric approach, engineers can take a pro
a niche market to a more mainstream movement. In E urope, active role in the design process. Other D anish research
the E nergy Performance of B uildings D irective (E PD B showed that the collaboration of di erent actors, an inter
2010) requires all new buildings to be nearly zeroenergy est in each other's disciplines and a common goal were
buildings by 2020. In order to achieve such buildings, they bene cial for the design process (B runsgaard 2011).
notonly need to beenergy e cient, butalso need to generate In the case of C anadian lowenergy houses, Genetic
energy; obviously, this implies that solar energy can play an A lgorithm softwarewas shown to behighly e cientin solv
important role. B y rationally taking into account the char ing complex problems in the design process and therefore
acteristics of solar radiation in both a passive and an active an important support for the architect (C harron 2008). In the
way, a solarintegrated architecture can be achieved. design process of a building with integrated photovoltaics in
T he aim of this research was to gain insight into Singapore, di erent design alternatives were developed and
the design process used in architectural o ces for solar with the help of a multicriteria decisionmaking tool, the
integrated projects in Sweden. T herefore, a series of 11 best alternative regarding energy performance, economic
interviews was performed among Swedish architects. It was performance and functionalaesthetic criteria was selected
important to see which actors were involved, what kind of (K osoric et al. 2011). A t the Harvard Graduate School of
information those actors shared, what kind of knowledge D esign, a study was carried out to evaluate how solar design
they needed, what design tools they used etc. tools may a ect the development of form in the design pro
A rchitects can contribute signi cantly to a more energy cess (Otis 2011). It was shown that students who used solar
e cient built environment as they make key decisions early design tools outperformed those students who did not use
in the design process (Wall et al. 2009). It is, however, any design tool.
unclear as to how architects make design decisions con B PS tools and other design tools can provide feedback
cerning energy and on what grounds these decisions are to architects and help them make decisions in the design
made. R esearch performed earlier has shown how archi process. R esearch performed earlier within IE A SHC Task
tects have dealt with designing solarintegrated architecture 41: Solar E nergy & A rchitecture has shown that many
in C anada, D enmark, Singapore and the US A (C harron architects still see a need to improve tools and methods
2008, B runsgaard 2011, K osoric et al. 2011, Otis 2011). for architects (K anters 2011a). Other researchers arrived
T he role that design tools played was new and cru at a similar conclusion; B PS tools are not yet suitable for
cial. In the design process of D anish lowenergy houses, architectural design work, are found to be too complex
two methodical approaches of building performance sim and not compatible with the architect's working methods
ulation (B PS) tools' use existed; a casebased approach (A ttia et al. 2009), and have serious shortcomings when

C orresponding author: E mail:

2013 Taylor & F rancis

142 J . K anters et al.

netzeroenergy buildings have to be designed e ciently the development of highquality solar architecture. Subtask
(B iesbroek et al. 2010). R ecently, however, new design B focuses on tools and methods that architects use when
tools have been launched which connect the architect's designing solar architecture. Previous publications of sub
C A D environment with solar analysis tools, to name a few: task B consist of an overview of B PS tools (Dubois and
IE S V E for Google SketchUp and R E V IT (IE S 2010), E co Horvat 2010) and an international survey on the adequacy
tect (A utodesk 2011a) and Vasari (A utodesk 2011b) and of design tools (Horvat et al. 2011).
D IVA for R hino (GSD Square 2009). With the introduction
of these programmes at least one parameter embedding
into the architect's work ow might be solved, but still Methods
a lot of parameters remain unsolved (for instance, a good T he semistructured interview was selected as the main
interoperability between the programmes). research instrument since the focus of the investigation was
It is known that passive application (solar heating and on the process. Semistructured interviews also give a cer
daylighting) and active application (photovoltaic and solar tain degree of freedom to express ideas and to highlight
thermal systems) of solar energy both imply signi cant areas of particular interest and expertise. It also makes it
architectural consequences (orientation, geometry, fenes possible to explore some responses in greater depth (Hor
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tration, HVA C system, etc.). A ctive solar elements can ton et al. 2004). T he interviews can be seen as a supplement
become part of the architecture of a project when the to the IE A SHC Task 41's international survey which was
architect applies a holistic approach (Hestnes 1999), and mentioned earlier.
when these solar elements replace other building elements
(L undgren and Torstensson 2004). T he passive application,
with the current focus on passive houses a house which Procedure
requires a highly insulated climate shell, a highe ciency A fter the decision was taken to use semistructured inter
heat exchanger in the ventilation system (Janson 2010) and view, a selection of architectural o ces was made. T he
appropriate orientation shows that a positive development architects who were selected for the interviews had been
within the building industry is possible. participating in projects with a focus on solar utilization.
T he new emphasis on energy e ciency starts to change Furthermore, several buildings were part of a selection of
the building process from the socalled traditional build case study buildings gathered within the IE A SHC Task
ing process to newer forms. T he traditional design process 41 during task meetings. In Table 1, an overview is pre
was divided into the following phases according to Jones sented of the selected projects. A lthough it was intended
(1992): (1) brie ng, (2) preconceptual design, (3) concep to focus mostly on built examples of solarintegrated
tual design, (4) preliminary design, (5) detailed design and buildings=urban master plans, not all the case studies were
(6) design documentation. Newer forms, like the integrated actually nished at the time of the interview.
design process (ID P), arebuiltupon teamwork, all actors are T he selected architects were contacted by email and
involved from the early design phases and has the following phone and all approached architects participated. Within the
sequence (A IA 2007): (1) conceptualization (program architectural o ces, these architects who had been project
ming), (2) criteria design (schematic design), (3) detailed leaders were selected as interviewees. T he interview ques
design (design development) and (4) implementation docu tions were sent to the interviewees prior to the interviews
ments (construction documents). Within IE A S HC Task 23: to allow the architects to prepare themselves for the inter
optimization of solar energy use in large buildings, the sub view. T he interviews usually lasted from halfanhour to
ject of ID P was dealt with in a more extensive explanatory more than an hour, depending on the architect and the
way and several projects were showcased to give concrete available time. Interviews were held in Swedish and tape
examples of ID Ps (IE A 2003). T he case studies selected recorded. A fter the interviews had been conducted, they
in this research were supposed to use a design process that were directly transcribed in Swedish and later entirely trans
could bequali ed as an ID P rather than a traditional process. lated into E nglish. T he interview questionnaire (Table 2)
It was also expected that architects who already designed was developed during IE A SHC Task 41 work meetings
solarintegrated architecture and urban master plans could with other Task members and was set up in order to
serve as an example for other architects willing to design serve as a basic guide to all interviews, although architects
solarintegrated architecture. Furthermore, it was expected were free to express other thoughts or re exions on solar
that the selected architects could indicate where the pos integrated architecture. One pilot interview was conducted
sibilities and problems had been and would be able to which allowed re ning the questions. A nswers given in the
compare itwith design processes and conditions of `regular' pilot interview were, however, considered not to be di er
buildings. ent from other interviews and were therefore fully taken
T he conducted interviews contribute to the research into consideration in the nal analysis.
carried out within subtask B of IE A SHC Task 41: Solar D ata analysis of the interviews was carried out using
E nergy & A rchitecture. T his task gathers researchers and Glaser and Straus' grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss
architects from 14 countries with the aim to accelerate 1967), which has been used earlier in analysis of the
Architectural Science Review 143

Table 1. Overview of projects.

A rchitect O ce location Project location L atitude T ype of project B uilt

1 Stockholm K olding, D enmark 55.7N, 11.9E R esidential Y es

2 Stockholm T rosa, Sweden 58.9N, 17.5E R esidential Y es
3 Stockholm Stockholm, Sweden 59.3N, 18.1E Urban plan Y es
4 Stockholm Stockholm, Sweden 59.3N, 18.1E C ommercial No
5 Gothenburg Stockholm, Sweden 59.3N, 18.1E R esidential Y es
6 Gothenburg Gothenburg, Sweden 57.7N, 11.9E Urban plan No
7 Gothenburg Gothenburg, Sweden 57.7N, 11.9E C ommercial=public Y es
8 Gothenburg V isby, Sweden 57.6N, 18.3E Public Y es
9 Malmo Malmo, Sweden 55.6N, 13.0E R esidential Y es
10 Malmo Stangby, Sweden 55.7N, 13.2E R esidential No
11 Malmo Malmo, Sweden 55.6N, 13.0E R esidential No

Table 2. Interview guide.

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Introduction C ompetences D esign process L esson learnt and barriers

Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 6

What is sustainable What basic information C ould you describe the H ow did you gain the skills
architecture for you and how and=or knowledge should early design phase for this that you presently have with
important is it for you? an architect have before project? What was done and the tools and solar energy in
What is solarintegrated starting designing a project what was the role of the general?
architecture for you and do like this? participants? Question 7
you think it is an important Question 4 What are your lessons
aspect of sustainable design? C ould you describe the rest learned in this project and
of the design process in how is this project di erent
phases? from other projects done by
Question 5 your o ce?
Which design tools did Question 8
you use during the design A ccording to you, what are
process and how useful did the most important barriers
you nd these tools? for exploiting solar energy
as an architect?

(architectural) design processes (Wong 2010). Within the way, itwould bepossibleto seeatwhatlevel architects make
grounded theory the following steps are performed after use of tools. However, only three architects responded to the
data collection (B ryman 2008): `coding' (the process of request and there was a large variation in the quality of the
categorizing data), `constant comparison' , `saturate cat sent documents.
egories' , `explore relationships between categories' and
`conceptual and theoretical work' . B y using an interview
guide, a list of categories could be made prior to the coding Sample
in order to make the process of coding easier. F urthermore, E leven interviews were conducted from January 2011 to
transcriptions were read several times beforecoding, as well May 2011. A ll interviews were at the architectural o ces of
as notes taken during the interview. T hen, transcriptions the architects, which were located in Stockholm, Gothen
of the interviews were imported into the programme QSR burg and Malmo in Sweden. A dditional interviews were
NV ivo 7 (QSR International 2006). T his data analysis pro carried out in Norway and D enmark, but these will be
gramme allows users to process raw data into categories, discussed in a future publication.
and is especially helpful when large amounts of data need Most of the interviewed architects of which four
to be analysed. T he coding in NV ivo is done by selecting a women and seven men had more than 10 years of expe
partof thetranscriptions and dragging itinto the selected list rience as architect. In almost all case studies, the project
of categories. Within the programme, the categories were architect was leading a small team of other architects and,
saturated with all data from all interviews and all categories if applicable, was responsible for contact with external
were exported to a wordprocessing software. consultants. T he architectural o ces were also carefully
A fter theinterviews, thearchitects wereasked to provide selected in order to ensure a rather equal distribution of sizes
some data from the design tools used in the processes, as as it was expected that o ces of di erent sizes would use
most of the interviewed architects answered to have used di erent design methods, which is related to the means in
design tools and B PS tools in some way or the other. In this terms of organization and available inhouse skills. In the
144 J . K anters et al.

sample, two o ces had 1 5 employees, three o ces had driving force in the design of the building by both blocking
5 10 employees, two o ces had 10 50 employees and four abundant solar radiation and producing electricity by solar
o ces had more than 50 employees. cells at the same time.
When it came to solarintegrated urban planning, archi
tects experienced solar energy as only one of many param
R esults eters to consider. One architect conceived orientation in
urban planning based on passive solar principles in con ict
T he architect's view on solarintegrated architecture
with the dense city. A nother architect thought that mak
When asked about their de nition of sustainable archi ing more use of solar energy in cities could avoid turning
tecture, all architects came up with their own de nition. agricultural land into solar energy plants.
However, most of them agreed that sustainable architecture
has a minimal impact on its environment in the long term.
In Figure 1, an overview is presented of the themes men Technical competences of architects
tioned by the interviewed architects when asked about the T he architects were asked what competences they should
term sustainability (note that the architects were allowed to have for designing solarintegrated architecture. Some
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give more than one answer). architects mentioned that architects are generalists and that
T he architects de ned solarintegrated architecture as they should know a little about a lot of aspects of the
an important part of the whole sustainability eld. T he term building, including technical systems. Many architects saw
`integrated' meant for architects that it was part of the archi the architect as someone who can do much more than
tecture and the aesthetics of the whole building. In some only aesthetically designing a building but he=she needs
cases, integrated was conceived as solar energy products to have more technical and engineering knowledge in order
replacing other building components and materials, not as to be able to design solarintegrated architecture. With this
an addon afterwards. increased technical knowledge, architects should be able
When talking about solarintegrated architecture, most to quickly assess design situations. T his need for increased
architects mentioned rst the active application of solar (technical) knowledge was often felt as a relatively new
integrated architecture solar panels and solar cells demand by the interviewees. However, some of the archi
and secondly the passive application of solarintegrated tects experienced that the architect should not get too much
architecture passive heating and daylighting. Further technical knowledge, as it could limit creativity during the
more, architects seemed to be aware of the relationship design process. In contrast, one architect mentioned that
between solar radiation and energy use in buildings; win many recent `sustainable' projects were very super cial;
dows were seen not only as a way of confronting the inner this architect felt more con dent with a more factbased
environment of a building with its outer environment, but architecture than a sensebased architecture when it comes
also as devices letting in daylight and heat. T he risk of to sustainability.
overheating in the summer was considered to be taken into Some architects expressed the view that they did not
account by providing proper solar shading while still pro have su cient knowledge or have the wrong type of
viding su cient levels of daylight; a situation which could technical knowledge and therefore worked together with
lead to a con ict. Some architects used this con ict as a engineers. One architect also mentioned that gaining and

Figure 1. A rchitects' de nition of sustainability.

Architectural Science Review 145

maintaining an extensive technical knowledge puts a high their conditions and requirements. T he following system
demand on a smallscale architectural o ce. Other archi requirements were mentioned by the architects:
tects expressed that they did not see the need to have an
extended technical knowledge and that they are therefore angles in which solar systems can have maximum
teamed up with engineers. For many architects, such a e ciency, which direction suits the situation best;
close collaboration with engineers mainly building ser how much solar systems could contribute to the
vice engineers is relatively new and came into the picture energy use of the building;
after the introduction of stricter Swedish building regula need and dimensions of storage tanks.
tions (building regulations in Sweden included already in
1993 rules about energy issues like heat and transmission Other architects mentioned that with this standard tech
losses and since the last decade, they also included demands nical knowledge, the dialogue with the building service
on the maximum energy useof a building expressed in terms engineers could become easier and it will also give the
of kWh=m2 , year). T he collaboration between architects architect the possibility to propose and adapt systems in
and engineers does not, however, always go that smoothly; order integratethem in a moreaesthetical way. Furthermore,
architects and engineers tend to speak di erent languages architects expressed a need to have an extensive knowl
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and use di erent kinds of input in order to perform their job. edge about the impact of the physical environment on the
T he engineer was pretty categorical and technical and ( )
`engineering' . Y ou could get mad at him as an architect. He
didn't think like an architect. (architect #7) impact of the sun's capacity to heat, but also to
overheat a building;
[during a conversation between the architect and the local wind conditions;
engineer about solar cells, the engineer says] `it has to
be this angle and in this direction' , but then we as archi airtightness;
tects sketch and say: `we want this angle and this direction how internal loads a ect the thermal balance of a
because it looks better' . T hen the engineers perform cal building;
culations and then they see that there was not much knowledge about window properties and position.
of a di erence. T hat is the dialogue you want to have
(architect #5)
F urther education
C onvincing the client A s it was found necessary to have more knowledge about
A nother competence an architect should have is the skill solarintegrated architecture as an architect, gaining this
to convince clients to go for solarintegrated architecture. new knowledge was found to be di cult by several archi
T his means that architects had to be able to clearly present tects but many of them had a personal interest in the subject.
the advantages and disadvantages of the integration of solar On the urban scale, general as well as technical knowledge
energy, both regarding theactiveand passiveapproach. T his was considered to be more elusive for architects to gain, as
was often done by providing a nancial overview with the it is not their direct eld of education. A rchitects experi
bene ts of using less energy vs investment costs. Some enced that institutions, municipalities and companies could
architects tried to highlight the symbolic value of solar help architects gain more knowledge on this urban level.
integrated architecture for the client. Gaining an overview of available solar technologies in
One architect saw it as her duty as an architect to pro buildings and remaining updated was found di cult, mainly
tect the tenants' interests, which the architect experienced due to rapid changes and the development of new products.
as being endangered by the amount of technology applied
Y ou have to update yourself all the time basically. Y ou
in new buildings. Tenants might feel limited in their possi become very dependent on technology and the technology
bilities to a ect their work environment and this architect changes all the time (architect #11)
therefore tried to include the possibility to have a partly
manual override for the technical systems in the project. Many of the architects answered that they mainly gained
knowledge by taking part in real projects. Some architects
did not have any experience in solarintegrated architec
B asic knowledge ture before starting the discussed project but by going
When asked about the necessary basic knowledge regard through projects with a focus on solar integration, archi
ing solarintegrated architecture, most architects found it tects were confronted with the problems and possibilities
di cult to answer that question. A rchitects' answers were of the integration of solar energy into buildings.
mainly focused on the technical side of that knowledge. A nother way of gaining knowledge was through col
A rchitects often answered that there is a need for having laboration with engineers. B uilding service engineers were
an overview of available solar technologies and other tech often involved during the design process and architects
nical systems. With this overview, an architect should be gained a lot of knowledge by collaborating with engineers.
able to compare di erent systems with each other based on T he method of transferring knowledge between architect
146 J . K anters et al.

and the (building service) engineer di ered in each case. In T here are a lot of people you can just call and ask [regarding
one case, the architect described a working situation where solar energy products]; `How big is the tank? How much
the building service engineer and the architect sat down insulation do we need?' T here is no one you can call and
ask `is it nice or ugly with this roof angle?' Y ou have to
and sketched together. In another case, the project architect learn that in school (architect #2)
had meetings and email correspondence with the engineer.
On the urban scale, transfer of knowledge to architects Other architects mentioned the lack of technical focus
often occurred through collaboration with larger groups of within architectural education. A ccording to one architect,
engineers gathered in municipal departments or other state newly graduated architecture students are designers, not
institutions. architects, because they do not learn technical aspects of
Study trips were considered as an important means of buildings.
gaining knowledge by architects. T hey saw it as a source of
inspiration directly showing how they could integrate solar T he design process
energy into architecture. B y seeing di erent examples of
E arly consideration
integration, architects can make a judgement for themselves
of several systems and applications, which could be vital When comparing 11 projects with their own speci cations,
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information when designing new buildings. T he possibility conditions, actors and (design) processes, it becomes clear
of visiting good examples can also be an inspiration source that the emphasis on energy e ciency and the integration
for other actors in projects, mainly clients. of solar energy has been in focus from the early design
phase. In almost all cases, it was the client who assigned
T hat's why it is good and important to have good examples; the architect to design an energye cient building. Some
to visit, to see, to experience it yourself, to have evidence: it of the case studies show that clients were focusing on
is done. T his works and it looks damn good. A s an architect,
sustainability=energy e ciency already in the beginning of
I also think that it is very important to show nonarchitects
that kind of examples (architect #4) the 2000s. B ecause of the current development and atten
tion towards this topic, case studies from the late 2000s
A rchitects also gained knowledge from the literature. and the beginning of the 2010s showed that they also had
B esides books on solar energy, architects saw building regu this emphasis, which is mainly a result of stricter building
lations and additional building standards as literature, which regulations (in Sweden) and because of the introduction of
they need to know extensively. F urthermore, when clients energy classi cation systems as a marketing instrument. In
decided to have their buildings certi ed with additional some cases, it was not the client, but the architect, who had
building standards like L E E D , B R E E A M, B uilding Pro a focus on sustainability in the early design phase.
gramme South (a standard developed in Southern Sweden) C ases studies showed that Swedish municipalities have
or Green B uilding architects need to be aware of these a special role to play in the design process. In some cases,
extra sets of rules. T hey are often supported by the building the municipality was the client (both on building and urban
service engineers in order to see whether they comply with level) and had high ambitions regarding sustainability.
the rules. When the municipality was not the client of a project, they
T he majority of architects did not attend any course in could still ensure a high sustainability level through the
the eld of solar energy. However, some architects did take instrument of competitions. When municipalities develop
shortterm courses, or invited speakers, mostly other engi new urban districts, the land is often property of the munic
neers or architects. One architect complained about the lack ipality. Potential property developers are invited to join the
of possibilities of good further education; according to this competition to be able to buy a piece of land and develop it
architect, nothing had changed that much in the available into properties. T his is, however, only possible if the pro
knowledge on solar technology in the last 20 years. posed buildings comply with stricter rules as set by the
municipality on top of the regular building rules. In this
way, municipalities have the possibility to demand these
E ducation as an architect stricter building standards, which would not be possible in
C oncerning the role of architectural education in relation the standard procedures.
to sustainable architecture, architects answered di erently T he architects experienced that throughout the year,
and found it hard to judge. Some architects stated it was clients have become increasingly interested in the posi
reasonable that the basic architectural education focused tive e ectof sustainable architecture. A lthough the Swedish
on fundamental elements of architecture and aesthetics, national building regulations became stricter, clients started
because it is hard to learn them afterwards. Working in the to demand certi ed sustainable buildings that could be
industry was often seen as the start of the second education according to either B R E E A M, L E E D , Green B uilding Stan
as an architect, when one learns by taking part in projects. dard, Passive House C erti cate or B uilding Programme
Somearchitects experienced thatitis easier to gain technical South (a Swedish programme). When clients aredemanding
knowledge afterwards than to gain the aesthetic fundaments such higher standards, they often want to show that the
of architecture. building is sustainable, which for instance can be done
Architectural Science Review 147

by clearly displaying solar cells and panels, even though B ut we also proposed solutions the engineers didn' t think
these solar elements were not always located in the most of. (architect #8)
energye cient place.
Solar integration
In the majority of cases, active solar technologies were inte
Teamwork grated in the building in the form of solar panels or solar
In order to ful l the task of designing a sustainable building, cells. T he visibility of the solar panels and cells had a large
architects often team up with engineers to investigate a sus impact on the architecture; in some cases this was desir
tainable strategy for the project from the early design phase. able, and in other cases this was not desirable. D isplaying
T he involved engineers are mostly building service engi the active harvesting of solar energy as an active architec
neers, structural engineers and energy consultants. In the tural element is a way of marketing the building and could
early design phase, the architect and engineer often decided therefore be wanted by clients and architects. When solar
what technical systems were most suitable for the building technology was to be displayed in the project, the architect
(based on energy sources available in the surroundings), often put some e ort in trying to get the solar technology as
and how the lowest possible heating and cooling load for
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aesthetically pleasing as possible, for instance, by designing

the building could be achieved. T hese components of the special details.
project required a lot of knowledge and it was for this reason In some cases, the architect considered that current solar
that the collaboration between engineers and architects was products were not aesthetically pleasing and, therefore, they
found so important. In smaller, monofunctional buildings, were not displayed in an obvious, visible way. E ven though
the architect can have this knowledge about technical sys active solar technologies were proposed in the early design
tems himself=herself. In bigger, multifunctional buildings, phase of most of the projects, they sometimes did not sur
the architect can hardly have this advanced knowledge as vive the design process, which was often due to nancial
the technical systems can exhibit a high level of complexity. considerations by the client. In some cases, solar energy was
A rchitects also did not see the need to have all this exten not applied due to local conditions, which were often related
sive knowledge, because it is too technical and di cult to to the local sources of energy (for instance, cheap heat from
stay updated. a district heating network) and made the feasibility of solar
T he development of the architectural shape of projects technologies less attractive compared with other renewable
went often handinhand with the applied technical systems; energy sources. In general, there was a strong belief among
when a certain change in the project was made because architects that they themselves were not the biggest bar
of aesthetics reasons (for instance a change in geometry rier for solarintegrated architecture, but that other factors
or facade), engineers calculated or estimated the conse beyond their power decided whether activesolar technology
quences of this on the energy performance of the building was used or not.
and reported it back to the architect.
T hen we ended up in the hands of the building service D esign tools
engineer who said `never in all my life. C heck out the On the question concerning the type of design tools used
new building regulations, we are never going to pass the
energy requirements' . T he building service engineer said
in the design process, some architects answered that they
we should start tightening the building; we should have a did not use any. One architect explained that the expres
window composition instead of having [everything in glass] sion design tool is not a familiar expression for what
(architect #7) architects use, at least, in Sweden. When design tools
are considered as tools or aids when designing, archi
In this iterative way, the architect could, together with the
tects used mostly the traditional design tools, that is, hand
engineer, decide on what design options were best. It also
sketches, twodimensional and threedimensional drawings
worked the other way around; engineers proposed a tech
in a C A A D programme as well as physical models. In order
nical system that had consequences for the design of the
to maximize the potential of sustainable architecture and=or
project. In many cases, this led to compromises; the archi
solarintegrated architecture, basic information about the
tecture of the building could not always be as wanted by
energy performance and production in the building could
the architect and the technical systems could not always
be a useful design aid for architects. T his could be achieved
be how the engineer wanted it. H owever, this collaboration
in two ways: manually using rules of thumb or by computer
was often perceived as positive by the architects.
with simulation programmes. More recent developments
We [the architect and the building service engineer] sat within the software industry have provided more available
down and sketched together. I think that this is usually the simulation programmes, but in the case studies from the
fastest way to [do;] that a person says something about a beginning of the 2000s, only one architect simulated the
system that ts together [with the project]. A nd if it is like
this, then you startto discover which consequences ithas for building using a computerized simulation tool. T he inter
the building. If it had [nondesirable] consequences, then viewed architects were asked to name all B PS tools used
you ask is there another system that we can have as well? in the design process, both used by themselves and by the
148 J . K anters et al.
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Figure 2. D esign tools used in the design process.

involved engineers. If these programmes were used at all, also mentioned the issue of responsibility when it comes to
the architects most often ignored what B PS tools were used the simulated energy performance of a building.
by the engineers. A ll architects answered to have mostly
It's also a bit di cult not knowledgewise, but it is di
used rules of thumb as a design tools, but no architect used cult concerning responsibility. Y ou can think of simulation
advanced B PS tools themselves; if it was used, then it was tools as design tools, but you should know whether the
often the engineer who used these programmes (Figure 2). outcome is right (or not) (architect #11)
B uilding information modelling (B IM) was not used in A rchitects also used other forms of design aids. Some
any of thecasestudy buildings, even though Swedish results architects mentioned that they saw the national building
from an international survey showed that B IM software is regulations and additional (stricter) building regulations as
commonly used nowadays in Sweden (K anters 2011b). T he a design aid.
absence of B IM can be due to the fact that it is quite a
recent development in the building industry, and many case
studies in this research were older than B IM. Furthermore, C onditions and barriers of solar integrated
B IM is often used in largescale buildings, whereas many architecture
case study buildings in this research were small scale. I ncentives
A ll architects mentioned that they used (simple) rules of A lmost a third of the architects answered that the biggest
thumb when designing sustainable=solarintegrated archi barrier for solarintegrated architecture was the lack of
tecture. T hese rules of thumb often provided a rst estima client interest. A t the same time, all architects mentioned
tion on that they experienced that solar products solar cells and
panels were too expensive at the moment.
window area;
thickness of outer walls; Investment costs I would say [is the biggest barrier]. It is
dimensions, energy output and most appropriate expensive and the cost coverage is very uncertain; how do
inclination of solar panels=cells on the building. you get [the investment] back? I don' t think architecture is
the obstacle (architect #3)
Very few architects used B PS programmes by them A rchitects experienced that clients seemed to have a lot
selves. Sometimes, simple simulation programmes were of prejudices when it comes to sustainable=solarintegrated
used by the architects, but more advanced simulation tools architecture. T here is also a signi cant di erence between
were operated by the (building service) engineers. Some clients; the smallscale private client has other means and
architects expressed that using advanced simulation pro incentives than the largerscale professional clients.
grammes as an architect would imply a big investment as
these tools are expensive and future users need to gain
knowledge on how to use the programmes. F inancial incentives
B esides required investments, some architects doubted Several architects mentioned that the connection between
that it should be the architect's responsibility to perform the two main barriers lack of client interest and expensive
advanced simulations; engineers are considered to have active solar products is a result from the shortterm ben
more technical knowledge, which is needed for input in e t culture within the property development and building
the simulation programmes. In line with that two architects industry. When the payback time of active solar products is
Architectural Science Review 149

over 5 10 years, property developers do not see the need to estate developers to show their future tenants that they care
invest in them on nancial grounds. Many architects often about sustainability. A rchitects got clear assignments say
experienced that property developers were very positive at ing that a building needed to comply with an additional set
the beginning of the design process about having active of building standards. When the building is built accord
solar products in the building, but that later on in the pro ing to these speci c building standards, the building is
cess, active solar products were considered too expensive. rewarded. With this reward, property developers are able to
None of the architects mentioned the costs related to the pro le themselves as being sustainable and this is indirectly
passive application of solar energy. a nancial incentive.
Some architects tried to convince clients to integrate What I have noticed sometimes was that a client took a
solar energy by performing not only energy calculations, decision that was not economically advantageous, (but)
but also by taking into account investment costs and the that they can put [the costs] on their marketing account
reduction of energy use in the building. T he fact that clients (architect #6)
in the end decided not to integrate active solar products in E nergy certi ed or not, certain projects started serving
the building was experienced by architects as disappointing. as an example of sustainable=solarintegrated architecture
Several architects mentioned that the basic grounds for
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and=or urban planning. One architect, who was involved

this lack of client interest lies within our society and eco in a now wellknown sustainable urban planning project,
nomic system. Many property developers are only focussed had given many lectures locally and internationally about
on making pro t quickly. In contrast, architects saw a need the project. T he involved architectural o ce had clearly got
for more input from the government. Some architects saw new assignments based on the fact that they had designed
energy certi cations as a good development for clients who this project.
not only focus on nancial issues, but also on their `image' .
Subsidies were mentioned by architects as an instrument of T he interest for these issues has been very big in Scandi
navia and north E uropean countries. We get foreign visitors
the government to increase the penetration of solar products
to the project every day. I don't know how many newspa
in buildings. A rchitects also praised the initiatives taken by pers I have met and how many interviews I have given. We
local authorities to stimulate the use of solar energy, for work now in C hina and R ussia, we have done studies in
instance, by stricter building regulations or by competitions. E ngland. It makes it pro table in that way (architect #3)
In the process, all stakeholders were forced to do something
A nother problem in convincing the client was the fact Solar products
that property owners and building contractors have a long T he majority of the architects experienced a limited choice
tradition of building in a certain way. A new way of building, of attractive solar products on the actual market. H owever,
for instance, is needed when building passive houses, and most of them observed a big development of new prod
is therefore considered as ( nancially) risky, even though ucts, mainly in the area of solar cells. T he recent emphasis
these techniques have been proven for quite some time. on sustainability has made that development possible and
It is important to convince the property developers, because A rchitects expressed that they would like to see more
they havearguments why notto build passivehouses. Oneis
that it is not done before in Sweden, and that they are not the
solar products which can bereally integrated in the building,
one who should be engaged in `experimental building' . In instead of building added products. T his would not only be
Sweden, the rst passive house was built ten years ago, so it preferable for the architecture of the building, but replac
is not strange. T here are so many prejudices about [passive ing building materials and components with solar products
housing]. T hat makes it tough sometimes (architect #9) makes it nancially more attractive as well. Many archi
tects expressed that the current, limited o er of products is
also limiting an aesthetically pleasing integration of solar
Non nancial incentives
products. A rchitects would like to see solar products as
T he majority of architects had been involved in projects a building material where colours, sizes, shape and other
where the client was eager to have solarintegrated architec features could be changed easily. With the right detailing,
ture. In those cases, the client often wanted to show that they architects could really integrate them into buildings. One
took the subject seriously; environmental considerations architect mentioned that solar products should be consid
had to be clearly visible in the building. ered by architects as all other building material, with its
Projects built in the beginning of the 2000s, and the ones own characteristics, but this requires a general increase in
paid by a nonprofessional client showed this involvement knowledge.
often in a nonquanti able way, for instance, by means of
solar panels being expressive architectural elements. More interesting is the border between products and material.
A s an architect, you really want to work with a mate
recentprojects, and the projects paid by professional clients, rial, to choose dimensions yourself, more than having a
often had a quanti able way of showing their involvement; nished product which is going to be placed somewhere
several certi cation systems are now being adopted by real (architect #2)
150 J . K anters et al.

C onclusion very early design process, for instance, for estimat

With regard to solarintegrated architecture and its design ing approximate size of structural elements, as these
process, the following main issues were identi ed as sizes can greatly a ect spaces within the building.
important by the interviewed architects: Structural engineers make more detailed calculations
in the later design phase and will adjust the sizing
A ll involved actors should strive for a sustainable according to these. R ules of thumb regarding energy
project: aspects can also help architects in the very early
the client: to make it nancially possible; design phase but they do not substitute energy simu
the engineers: to make it technically possible; lations, which are needed at later stages (Granadeiro
the municipality: to make it legally possible; et al. 2011). In some cases, advanced B PSs were car
the architect: to make it into an attractive, ried out by (building service) engineers in order to
functional and healthy building pleasant for its provide more information for the architects and engi
inhabitants. neers to work with, but those advanced simulation
were never performed by architects.
T here is a lack of aesthetically attractive active
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However, it was not experienced exactly as that. A s team

solar products. Most of the architects would like
work and collaboration become crucial and more intense
to consider active solar systems more as a building
and necessary, it gets more important for all actors to speak
material, with the possibilities to change colour and
`the same language' . A rchitects experienced a gap between
engineers and architects because of di erent backgrounds
and di culties of communication. With the need for more
clever, energye cient buildings, it could be said that archi L imitations
tects need more engineering skills while engineers need One limitation in this research can be the limited number
to gain more architectural skills. A s we see that ID P is of interviewed architects. However, earlier researches show
becoming a more common and necessary design method, that it is possible to draw conclusions from a limited number
it should perhaps be introduced in the education. L earn of case studies (Flyvbjerg 2006, R uddin 2006).
ing how to successfully collaborate within the design team A nother limitation of this study can be the ambiguity of
should become part of both the architectural curriculum the terminology within the eld of lowenergy buildings
as well as the engineering curriculum in order to reduce and solarintegrated architecture. E ven though architects
problems in future ID Ps. were asked to describe the term `solarintegrated architec
ture' and its relation to sustainable architecture, it was not
C lients did not prioritize solarintegrated architec always clear as to what the term contained. T his was espe
ture. T his was mainly due to a resistance of investing cially the case in the projects where there was no active
in active solar technologies which did not provide application of solar energy (solar cells, panels) but where
shortterm pro t. A rchitects mentioned that a change architects worked with the passive application of solar
of ownership's type one which prioritizes a long energy (orientation, prevention of overheating, daylight).
term commitment would stimulate the integration A nother limitation can be the fact that only architectural
of active solar technologies. T his change was seen o ces were visited in the bigger cities in Sweden.
possible if it would be stimulated by subsidies or
other nancial incentives. Green building certi
A cknowledgements
cation systems were often seen by architects as a
T he authors sincerely thank all the architectural o ces who coop
positive in uence on the building process, because
erated with theinterviews, theSwedish E nergy A gency for funding
clients will more easily invest in sustainable (solar) this research, T horbjorn L aike for his comments on the procedures
aspects for the sake of marketing. However, a certain of qualitativeresearch and Miljana Horvatfor providing comments
caution is needed when it comes to certi cation sys and discussion.
tems. For instance, the L E E D certi cate gives little
incentivefor passivesolar energy (as itis only consid
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