Architect-town planner, member of the strategic committee of the Grenelle Building Plan
François Pelegrin fait partie depuis de nombreuses années de plusieurs organisations professionnelles. Il a notamment été Président de l'UNSFA d'octobre 2001 à octobre 2005.
Il est aujourd'hui (notamment):
- Membre du Comité Stratégique du Plan Bâtiment Grenelle
- Président du COS Construction à l'AFNOR
- Administrateur d'Effinergie, de Cequami, du CSTB...
Il a crée son agence d'architecture en 1979.
What impact is the Grenelle having on openings?
The Grenelle takes us back to the fundamentals of our profession, that is to say building intelligently with the climate rather than enduring it. With the new 2012 Thermal Regulations, the Bbio [a climatic building coefficient] takes us back to 74-76 and the years of the oil shock, when research programmes were undertaken in support of a bioclimatic architecture in which openings played a dominant role.
Today, the Grenelle takes us back to these concerns. It is necessary for the architect to design a building envelope that performs and in which the openings play an important role and one that is at least as important as the insulation of opaque walls. It is important to capture the sun and the heat that it delivers during the periods when one needs it, whilst also to providing protection to avoid having to live in discomfort and without having to resort to air-conditioning. And all of this is down to openings.
There are ways in which things can be optimized. At this point, orientation is essential and this is precisely one of the roles of the architect and the thermal expert supported by simulation tools (the héliodon, which we invented in 1980 to simulate solar radiation using a computer). It allows, for example, it to be checked if a canopy placed over a south-facing window would be effective, if distant obstacles (a peak in the mountains, multi-storey structures) compromise solar contributions and would require a different positioning for the openings. This is where windows function as collectors.
The role of the opening is not simply reduced to its thermal function. It also serves to maintain contact with the outside, to extend the house or the office to the outside.
Openings are expected to offer other technical capabilities: acoustic, suitability for self-cleaning, to reflect or not reflect the sunlight, to be discreet and to house all the multiple and varied forms of doors and windows.
The aesthetic qualities of openings such as transparency also need to be stressed. The role of the glazing is more and more important and includes high performance triple glazing, which is still a little on the expensive side.
The closing of openings, using shutters, roller or sliding blinds also needs to be taken into account… The 2012 Thermal Regulations compel designers to think about all of this, about closing at night and comfort during the summer, especially to the south of the Loire.
It is clear that the Grenelle impacts on openings in many ways. Through research contracts with the Fondation Bâtiment Energie, we have drawn up a set of specifications for a simulation tool aimed at architects. It has resulted in a tool that is both very powerful and entertaining, a piece of software called Archiwizard, which reacts in real time and allows you to obtain a thermal balance right from the first sketch and to immediately measure any modification made to the plans. As a result, everything there is to say about the opening can be self-evaluated from the design stage. From this quantitative base grounded in the Thermal Regulations, one can then turn to tackling ideas of visual comfort and working with light to create interiors.
How will the role and the trade of architects evolve in this context?
An architect should not be solely concerned with created a fine, aesthetic envelope. Architecture is also the art of composing volumes, proportions, atmospheres, of creating spaces, of grasping the play of light, transparency. A building is created in the first instance to house human activities: living spaces, offices, leisure… As a result, comfort is of fundamental importance.
Now, one talks more and more about guarantees of performance, even guarantees of results. This is not simply a matter of declarations. Customers, occupants, the users of offices, consumers are more and more demanding. One asks them to make extra efforts, the State plays the game with tax credits, the Eco PTZ,… and so one so that one heads towards excellence. However, if the results are not up to scratch, there will be trouble.
What will change …
Today, with the Grenelle, building professionals are faced by a challenge and it will need to be pursued to its conclusion. A tool such as Archiwizard and a well informed architect will not be enough. Before one can succeed, all of those involved in the chain and in particular the companies will need to be trained.
The Grenelle is making us play a collective, a more integrated game. It is important to maximize the spread of the training as quickly as possible. CAPEB and the FFB have already set an example. It is important that all the professions organize themselves as quickly as possible (architects, engineers, specifiers), including the elected representatives. This is also a question of will. The move two years ago that all the buildings we design are at least low consumption, if not positive energy, one also requires intelligent and combative customers.
François Pelegrin will be taking part in the round table “How are construction practices are evolving in response to the Grenelle de l'Environnement [French Environment Initiative]?” at 4.00 p.m., 16th November, and who will also be presenting the “BEST (Solar Energy Service Sector Building) project: rethinking the design of offices around solar energy” at 10.00 a.m., 19th November.