Energy and Building
Teaching - Research Group
Technical University Berlin and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile


Within the Topics adressed by the Project, some Research work currently underway by Faculty members of our Group are:

Urban Infrastructure

By addressing the deep relation between the intensification of land use and mobility requirements, the investigation proposes new regeneration strategies focused in urban integration to challenge the existing ecological imbalance regarding energy and resource uses in Santiago Downtown. Arguments take advantage of research that has modelled the impact of public policies of emission reductions that have been implemented in inner zones. More than 2.000 hectares of deteriorated neighbourhoods can be by than transformed through "Gentrigation" strategies. The investigation has been development in 2008 conducted by Roberto Moris (PUC) and Paola Alfaro d'Alençon (TUB) and involved students from both university.

Building Systems Integration

Two main approaches can be recognized regarding architecture and the energy used in it: on one hand the mechanical, energy intensive approach based on building services; on the opposed extreme passive, zero energy strategies claim for an architecture that is climate-responsive and environmentally responsible. These seemingly irreconcilable positions and practices have been showing signs of coming to terms with each other.

Statistik 02 DF

In a number of recent designs, particularly in Germany, the choice has been made for a compromise that brings together in a new blend these traditionally opposed strategies, with surprising results. A number of architectural issues are raised as presumed autonomous, hidden building systems gain importance and the building envelope integrates them for further control and year-round effectiveness.

Constructional, spatial, environmental, structural and other issues intertwine in a complex system that needs to be both integrative of this complexity and adaptive facing changing requirements, posing in turn new technical and design challenges. Thus, a further question arises, involving now architectural typological consequences: How are mechanical building systems and intelligent, passive facades integrated from technical development into architectural design?

Research on the Performance Office Buildings Glass Facades in Santiago

TUB and PUC are cooperating in a research initiative documenting the real performance of building operation in Chile, with the objective of developing a new real-standard benchmarking for evaluating energy performance of such buildings and projects. This research has been granted a FONDECYT Fund by CONICYT, Chile.

Imagen Camara1

There's virtually no information in Chile about the performance of buildings currently in operation, so we cannot evaluate any project in reference to any real experience benchmarking. International standards used as a reference come from different climatic and cultural contexts, so they obliterate specific local aspects such as density of people using spaces, real technical comfort indexes or occupation timing.

This work, conducted by PUC Prof. Dr. Claudio Vásquez, will be the first step to resolve the lack of information making real measurement in office building on real use, based on a number of real cases of study currently under study. The parameters to be measured are: interior and exterior air temperature; interior and exterior relative humidity; radiant temperature of interior surfaces and outside solar radiation and interior lighting levels. This data base will be used to model the buildings and analyses scenarios to improve energy performance using different solution of facades.


Some of the results of the work undertaken by faculty members sharing our Group is contained in the papers below:

Nocturnal natural ventilation for low and zero energy office buildings in Central Chile

Waldo Bustamante (U. Católica de Chile) and Elisabeth Gratia (U. Catholique de Louvain). Paper presented to SET 2009, Aachen, Germany.


This paper shows the thermal performance of an office building with a double skin facade in Santiago and Valparaiso, comparing it with an identical building in which this type of facade is not used. Simulations showed that double skin is not necessarily an effective strategy for energy efficiency. When using other strategies like the solar protection, nocturnal ventilation in office buildings without double skin, energy efficiency may be reached, tending to zero energy cooling demand[…]

> Read the complete Abstact > View the Paper in PDF format > View the Presentation in PDF format

Thermal Comfort and market niches for apartment buildings: Impact of the current Thermal Regulation in the private real estate market in Santiago de Chile

Felipe Encinas, Andre De Herde (U. Catholique de Louvain), Carlos Aguirre, Carlos Marmolejo (U. Politècnica Catalunya). Paper presented to SET 2009, Aachen, Germany.


This paper proposes a series of dynamic thermal simulations to apartments in Santiago, with the aim of establish their thermal behaviour both in winter and summer. These digital models are statistically based on the typologies belonging to the private real estate market during the period 2003-2009. These were determined using a multivariate analysis of their attributes through the two-stage clustering method.

> Read the complete Abstact > View the Paper in PDF format > View the Presentation in PDF format

Integration of Active and Passive Systems in Glass Façades

Renato D'Alençon (Technische Universität Berlin). Paper presented to SET 2009, Aachen, Germany.


In this paper, we explore an approach blending active, mechanical systems in whole, comprehensive façade systems. To do so, we draw a state of the art of these technologies and analyze their performance in cases of study built in Germany the last years. We conclude outlining the key elements an integrated façade should consider, emphasizing the complementation with passive systems and the architectural implications of such a trend.

> Read the complete Abstact > View the Paper in PDF format > View the Presentation in PDF format

Migration of Sustainable Construction. Foreign Influence and Expertise in Chile 1989 - 2004

Renato D'Alençon, Jonas Fischer (Technische Universität Berlin), Lara Nobel (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia). Paper presented to Third International Congress on Construction History, Cottbus, Germany, May 2009.


This paper examines a growing trend of construction that is claimed to be sustainable or ecological, which developed in Chile starting in 1989, and the process of importing influential environmental building principles previously developed and used in Europe, particularly in Germany. The migration of these influences is proposed to be conveyed by individuals, carriers of ideas and expertise that stem from their own educational background, access to relevant information, professional partnerships and work opportunities.

> View the Paper in PDF format from the Conference Website


Final Dual-Degree projects awarded a national contest

(Santiago, June 13th 2012) We are pleased to announce that our first double title alumni Natalia Spörke (PUC) and Alexander Tiedemann (TUB) have won two of the ten awards from the Project Title National Contest organized by Arquitectura Caliente. Arquitectura Caliente is a group dedicated to providing opportunities and spaces of diffusion to young architects and students. The contestants are final architecture projects belonging to all universities in Chile for the period 2010-2011. This year the competition involve 144 projects.

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Students' project for the Landesbibliothek joins the debate in Berlin

(Berlin, March 14th 2012) The design project realized by the TU students Linh Vu, Katerina Navalova, Sara Fontainhas and the PUC student Camila Urzúa for the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin in Tempelhofer Feld was presented into the Akademie der Wissenschaften inside the lecture "Urban development in Berlin since the fall of the Wall"

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TU-Berlin students win the Haiti Ideas Challenge competition

(Berlin, September 30th 2011) The design project "Reclaiming Heritage" by TUB students Holly Au, Eduardo Barros, Miguel Delso Páez, Federico Rota, Alejandro García Gadea, and Carmen Gómez Maestro, Faculty Sponsors Renato D'Alençon and Luis Beltrán del Río, has won the Housing Category in the Haiti Ideas Challenge, organized by ACSA, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, USAID, United States Agency for International Development, and Howard University's School of Architecture and Design

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