Eleni Marina Maragkaki

Carbon Neutral Urban Block in Athens 2050

The extensive urbanisation of Greece, and especially Athens’ city centre, has left a degraded urban environment. The extreme heat caused by more frequent heat waves, the heat island effect on a city made of concrete with no green areas, and surrounded by mountains indicate the need for actions towards indoor and outdoor comfort, which is related to the energy consumption of the buildings. The average energy consumption per dwelling in Greece increased by 5% per year from 1997 to 2010.

In collaboration with Urban Systems Design, this work’s aim is to create a carbon neutral block in Athens 2050. This is achieved by illustrating how architectural creativity, together with clear understanding and application of the principles of environmental design (from concept to detailing), can produce buildings of better environmental performance, creating good quality spaces and even overcoming pre-determined energy consumption targets.

The first step of this work was a literature review that could provide information and evidence for the definition of the carbon neutral block and research on the energy consumption and efficiency in Greece. The next step was the optimisation of the block’s form based on principles of environmental design and climatic analysis in order to enhance its environmental benefits. Simulations on the energy performance of the block and calculations on the ability to cover the energy loads by renewables were the next step. Finally, to meet zero carbon neutrality, the connection with the neighbouring blocks was established to balance the excessive/missing energy. This connection can help reduce carbon emissions beyond what the buildings can do in isolation.

The results demonstrate the benefits of a bioclimatic, carbon neutral building design in Greece and provide a practical prototype which can be adapted by architects and governmental institutions to other projects, thereby enabling the shift to a more efficient and environmentally-friendly built environment.