Architecture in the Making
Architecture as a Making Discipline
and Material Practice

Nearly Zero Energy as a Design Parameter – A Study in Tectonics and Morphology for Nearly Zero Energy Architecture

Lundgren, Marja

Project Contact:
Project Type: Licentiate
Project Period: 201208-201612


One of the great societal challenges we face are the global consequences of the climate emissions caused by the vast use of fossil energy in the world. To mitigate the consequences and change the course of energy use a new EU directive issue that in 2020, the normal production of the buildings to be nearly zero energy buildings. The legislators will formulate the demands on a national level.

This goal is a challenge for today's architectural practice. Knowledge on energy efficiency is closely linked to knowledge of building physics, an area of which Swedish architects traditionally have less expertise in, than in for example statics and construction.

The focus in this licentiate is two sided; to investigate and demonstrate the potential in working with the relation between building physics and design to develop an approach to find architectural solutions for the nearly zero energy requirements and to reflect on national legislation and its relation to architectural form.

My experience from working in an architectural practice at White as an environmental consultant and sustainability advisor on energy is that building physics principles need to be exemplified through form in order to be embraced by fellow architects. Therefore case study methodology will be important in order to approach the relationship between form and energy. The work will involve case studies from modern projects in the Nordic climate that meet our standards of comfort while using minimal energy. The aim is to describe the relation between form and building physics from an architectural point of view.

At present my focus is on the chain of the EU Directive, national law, practice and design. How will the EU Directive for 2020 affect the Swedish legislation, what choices are available and how do they affect in turn architecture design?


Marja Lundgren, Arkitekt SAR/MSA, with training in building physics, indoor environment and environmental impact. Since 1999 I have worked at White, as an environmental consultant in construction projects and with research and development projects. Since the fall of 2012, I am an industrial doctorate at KTH half-time and working part-time at White as research coordinator, project manager with R&D projects and advisor on sustainable design.

Previously published writings are Aktiv solenergi i hus- och stadsbyggnad – samtida perspektiv och framtida möjligheter for Arkus in collaboration with Elforsk, Solskydd i arkitektur – gestaltning, inomhusmiljö och energianvändning for Arkus. The latter publication was written together with Helena Bülow-Hübe popularising the research result of Maria Wall and Helena Bülow-Hübe at Lund University. I am also co-author of several writings within International Energy Agency Task 41 – Solar Energy and Architecture.

Present R&D work is a book on shutters as a modern energy efficient building element together with Helena Bülow-Hübe and the participating and Swedish coordination of an international research projects within the International Energy Agency on solar energy, architecture and urban design, Task 51.

Since early 2000, I have been a guest lecturer in all grades and an assistant in Sustainable Design Studio at KTH Architecture. Between 2010-2012, I was responsible for an elective course called Tectonics that spring from environmental response, where tectonics refers to the meeting of building physics and architectural design. It is rewarding and challenging.

In my profession, I am interested in the pedagogical perspective. Largely, I can see that my role has been influenced a lot by the fact that different professions have not always been able to communicate, and I have been a form of intermediary. My interest in education and pedagogy is also an important reason for me to be working at KTH.


generated by
  undefined (1)
link   bibtex  

As part of both the development of the environment and as a means to communicate our activities some of the lectures and seminars arranged are available online. Visit our Youtube-channel here.