The Ecology and Planning Museums are the first two buildings of the cultural district of Eco-City Tianjin - a new city for 350,000 inhabitants that is a collaboration of the governments of Singapore and China and will demonstrate state of the art sustainable aspects. The Planning Museum is a “subtractive” space, while the Ecology Museum is an “additive” complement, a reversal of the space carved out from the Planning Museum.
Transsolar developed the energy and comfort concept for the museums, which together form a lighthouse project for sustainability. The central idea of the project is to merge good comfort with low energy demand. The following steps have been taken to optimize the energy requirements: First, the building loads are minimized and then the HVAC system optimized. The remaining energy needs are then covered by renewable energy.
Tianjin has a very high cooling demand; it is 3 to 6 times more than heating depending on building program. The key innovation of this energy concept is therefore the heat rejection strategy. A geothermal system is the most efficient heat rejection system for the chillers, but a geothermal system also needs to be regenerated during the winter period; i.e. every year, the ground needs to be cooled down during winter to ensure that the ground can act as a heat sink in summer. For this regeneration, heat is rejected through the building envelope – which is highly conductive, and absorbs little solar energy – during the cold period of the year. The Ecology Museum building envelope rejects heat at night, taking advantage of the efficient radiant heat exchange between the building skin and the cold night sky. This approach has been dubbed “lunar collector”.
2014 PROGRESSIVE ARCHITECTURE AWARD