13 August

Mixed Mode the Future

Over the past 10 years major changes have emerged in the field of building service engineering. A good example would be double glazing on commercial buildings.
While not actually required by the building code, it has become the norm to specify double glazing. The industry has embraced the benefits of energy saving and noise reduction without the need for regulation.

One area that needs developing is the use of mixed mode buildings. Some people will remember the use of cross ventilation which was inherent in many MOE designs. Generally these were mucked up over the years with on-going interior fit outs. A classic example of this is the old Auckland City council building in Greys Ave where it eventually was required to have air conditioning retro-fitted after many internal alterations over the years.

Mix mode needs developing in this country – we have the perfect climate for it where most of the year – it’s not too hot and not too cold. Architects appear to have well and truly got to grips with passive design, keeping the sun’s energy out in summer and using it in winter to good effect. We are developing buildings with lower and lower energy use but we can still do better. Like the addition of double glazing, mixed mode buildings are just the next step.

Robert Mannes