KEOTO develops architectural projects integrating aesthetics and technical building systems. We are an integral planning company – supported by the latest research activities at ETH Zurich – where architects and engineers work together to make the innovations of today the standards of tomorrow.
Energy efficiency over the entire life cycle of a building is the single most important goal of sustainable architecture. KEOTO considers the implementation of different techniques to reduce the energy needs of our projects and increase their ability to capture or generate their own energy. We aim at providing 100% of our projects’ energy demand in a cost-effective way. To do this, we study the technical and economic feasibility of renewable energy-related technologies: solar thermal and photovoltaic collectors, wind generators, geothermal sources, heat recovery systems, heat extraction potential from air and water bodies (lakes, rivers, groundwater), seasonal and diurnal heat storage alternatives, bioenergy systems, heat pumps, etc.
KEOTO’s sustainable practices go beyond international certification standards. Our team’s multidisciplinary perspective allows us to have a holistic perspective to oversee the total life cycle of our projects. Therefore, we are able to develop projects aiming to comply with any international standard or to meet project owners’ more ambitious goals. In some cases – together with our customers – we seek proposals for subsidy applications, which can provide additional economic incentives, especially to cover part of the project’s upfront costs
Our templates work hybridizing the general ambitions of sustainable development with themes rooted in local issues to make specific concrete levers of action emerge. Each charter is based on a previous diagnosis to define coherent objectives. Priority actions based on opportunities, different scales and local constraints. As a tool for work and commitment, set out clearly who does what, when, on what scale and with what objectives so that everyone can get involved in this common dynamic of sustainable transformation.
Solar panels alone don’t provide the optimal sustainable solution. However, if properly implemented considering their interplay with other innovative technologies, it is possible to develop zero-emission and cost effective building systems. To design a zero-emission and cost-effective concept, we analyze the full system, which can be an existing one or a customized configuration. Our simulation tools model the interaction between the system, the building and the environment. A reliable prediction of the system’s behaviour is achieved thanks to the use of worldwide weather data and topological shading. As a result, we can provide an overall optimal solution, which provides – not only the proper dimensioning of the engineering system (solar panel area, heat pump rated power, number of boreholes, etc.) – but also the definition, for instance, of certain envelope elements that can be adjusted (insulation, openings, etc.).
Envelop analysis is a multidisciplinary task, where our architects and engineers work together to define the most convenient overall solution for our clients. The main envelope characteristics to be defined are: window/wall ratio, insulation type, insulation thickness and definition of openings. In this regard, engineers evaluate the building performance of the available alternatives and – together with architects – define the configuration that better suits the project’s needs. Therefore, building performance and aesthetics are considered during the process of envelope definition. Envelope analysis is very valuable for both new projects, where all envelope characteristics need to be defined, and retrofit projects, where some of the parameters are fixed (i.e., window/wall ratio). The balance between a project’s envelope and its technical system is often the most cost-effective task of our planning process.
KEOTO’s software tools perform dynamic simulations considering specific climate conditions for each project. By making use of historical data on weather forecasts of the location, worst case scenarios are carefully studied for optimal user comfort and dimensioning of Heating /Cooling equipment. In addition to the climate conditions, our simulation tools take into account the type of use of the building. This is done by introducing electric and thermal loads with an accuracy of less than one hour for a one-year period. This way, every load can be controlled to precisely mimic the project’s performance during use.
Our approach to evaluating the users’ comfort – Hygrothermal comfort – considers both Temperature and Relative Humidity of the air, which define the well-being sensation of occupants. Through dynamic seasonal simulations, we can have a precise estimation of the comfort level that can be expected. Simulations results on comfort level enable us to decide among the design choices available, for instance: materials selection, ventilation type (Natural or Mechanical), HVAC set up (floor heating, air-based), etc
Definition and optimization of ambient light in closed and open spaces. The optimal combination of natural and artificial light is defined, based on a comparative analysis of available alternatives. Dynamic simulations of natural lighting allow us to define the most convenient definition of the openings (i.e., windows). Some opening properties that can be analysed are: window/wall fraction, type of glass surface, external shading, overhang length, among others. The aim of the comparative analysis is to find the right balance between aesthetics, costs and performance, to fulfill the specific needs of the project. The performance variables to be optimized are: illumination comfort of occupants, electricity consumption associated with artificial lighting, sizing of the required HVAC system, and heating/cooling energy demand for each type of opening configuration.
Feasibility study and development of mechanical and natural ventilation techniques based on morphological features and spatial characteristics; usage conditions and ambient and comfort requirements: location programmatic entities depending on prevailing winds, study opportunities by drawing horizontal and vertical scanning, studying the effects of stratification, study devices tower type wind, solar chimney etc., design input devices and air evacuation, study modes, control, monitoring and maintenance. Optimization of air flow across the closed and/or open spaces: modeling and simulation of ventilation air flow and air within the different spatial entities (through spaces, large volumes) and travel outdoor spaces (public spaces, streets …)
KEOTO’s planning process is based on Building Information Modeling (BIM). Thus, information is safely preserved and readily available for future decisions during the project’s life cycle. KEOTO’s digital toolbox is based on digital building models, which makes possible the systematic assessment of environmental and economic issues. Accordingly, it is possible to evaluate different architectural parameters early in the planning phase or at any other point in the building’s life cycle. BIM (Building Information Model); IPD (Integrated Project Delivery).