This project undertakes to provide a thorough environmental analysis of the Keeling House, a 16-story apartment block in east London. To understand the issues related to sustainable environmental design, the history, building form, materiality and environmental properties- such as solar access, daylighting, ventilation, thermal properties and energy demand - will be studied through multiple techniques. This includes the review of relevant publications, taking on-site measurements, interviews with relevant personnel and the use of analytic tools and computer modeling and simulation. Throughout the process the project seeks to adopt an occupant viewpoint relating all findings to how the space serves the requirements of the occupants.
The building is a 14 story, four-tower cluster composed of 58 units. The units are identically designed two-story maisonettes except for one floor of single story flats, and the top floor of penthouses. The symmetrical nature of the plan and the four different orientations of the towers stood out immediately as an element to study: How does orientation effect thermal performance?
After further analysis of drawings, visits to the building and interviews with occupants, other issues came to light. All of the occupants interviewed complained of thermal discomfort in winter and intermediate months. Some did not even use their heating system because of the high cost. Temperature measurements and monitoring confirmed that the temperatures in the house were below the identified comfort zone for the occupants. These findings, and additional observations of construction techniques and materials, resulted in the conclusion that the units have a high rate of heat loss.
The south facing flat was identified as the base case because it has the optimal orientation and solar access. The energy index (Yannas et al., 1994) was used to analyze the general thermal performance of the units and the results were used to identify potential areas of intervention. The results showed that insulation had the highest effect on annual heating demand, followed by glazing and ventilation rate. These topics informed the individual research agendas. The building form and material properties also suggest the potential benefit of a buffer zone which is the fourth research topic.