Chulalongkorn University’s architecture students learn to design home’s own low-cost power plant with German experts

On 14-15 March 2017, students of architecture at Chulalongkorn University attended a second workshop on Nexus Plus Energy Buildings organized by GIZ Nexus Project in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Germany, and Chulalongkorn University.

Focusing on water, energy and food security, the GIZ Urban Nexus Project recognizes the importance of housing in Asia. A home, where people live, is the concentration of the resource consumption – especially energy, and GIZ Nexus sees an opportunity to introduce the ambitious yet feasible concept of “Plus Energy Buildings/Houses” to Southeast Asia. A Plus Energy Building is a building which is able to produce more energy than it consumes. Economically, a Plus Energy Building will not only reduce the operation cost of the building itself, but will also provide the property owner with potential revenue through the sales of electricity to the main grid once this is again allowed in Thailand.
 
  In August 2016, GIZ Nexus Project in cooperation with Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Germany, and Chulalongkorn University, organized a series of “Nexus Plus Energy Buildings” workshops. One of the workshops was for the Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University. Leading the discussion, Fraunhofer ISE presented the methodology for realizing zero-energy buildings, good practices in zero-energy buildings in Germany and Asia, interaction of building and grid, and the role and importance of education and research.
 
Following up on the success of the first training session, a second workshop was organized on 14th-15th March 2017 and attended by 30 students of architecture. It focused on the practical work of designing and simulating a Plus Energy Building. The students were given a theoretical and practical introduction on how to modify an existing building design. Fraunhofer ISE provided the theoretical part while Mr. Martin Schoch from Unexpected Co., a Thai architectural consultant, elaborated on the actual design modification and energy simulation of a Health Care Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
 
The students were provided with the current row house design of the National Housing Authority Thailand and worked in groups to modify the design using both passive and active measures. Subsequently, the students were trained in how to use simulation software to determine the actual energy savings and the extra construction cost needed to implement their proposed measures.
 
The students’ commitment to the workshop and strong interest to learn, coupled with the full support in terms of knowledge and experience from the experts, yielded a very fruitful two days of training. The students are now oriented towards sustainable housing design rather than just conventional design. They are able to compare various sustainable measures against the measures’ respective costs as well as their respective actual energy-saving magnitude. The students demonstrated the ability to work in teams to achieve a common goal. The alternative designs will be presented to the National Housing Authority for further processing and future implementation.

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