EME 807
Technologies for Sustainability Systems

Summary & Activities

This lesson overviews the key aspects of high performance buildings. The bottom line here is that different systems inside the building require specific technical knowledge, so creating a sustainable building is a collaborative multi-expert task. All of the design and technology efforts typically target two main directions: resource use efficiency and human health. Because of the complexity of building design, assessment of buildings requires comprehensive framework, such as LEED, which was adopted as a universal metric set in the U.S. It is not the only certification system for buildings, but is probably the most well known and widely used in assessment of public facilities and large common use buildings. While we do not go through every step of the LEED system here, we explore a few common metrics and study several examples. The design + technology collaborative thinking made a Net Zero Energy Building a reality, so this lesson also took a brief tour of that concept.

Type Assignment Directions Submit To
Reading Complete all necessary reading assigned in this lesson.  
Forum Discussion

Read the web-article "The Future of Green Buildings May Be Closer than You Think" about the net-zero-energy building philosophy. Write a short post (<200 words) expressing your opinion on the following question: What are three most important features/qualities of a net-zero-energy building? Defend your opinion presenting another example of such a building found on the web. Provide comment to at least one other post by your classmates.

Deadline: For initial posting - Sunday; for comment to other posts - Wednesday night.


Lesson 7 Discussion 


A. Perform a simple energy audit of your current house or residence and calculate the following LEED metrics: (a) energy use intensity (EUI) in kBtu/sf/year, (b) greenhouse gas emissions in lb CO2e/sf/year. Compare your results to the numbers in LEED case studies in Section 7.2 of this lesson.

B. Analyze a possibility of converting your house into a zero-energy building. What would it take in terms of adjusting energy use and installing on-site power systems? For instance, would residential solar systems (for example 2.4 kW rooftop panels) be a feasible solution at your current location?

Based on your analysis, prepare a short report (limit to 2 pages) on the physical feasibility of zero-energy idea for your setting. Use numerical data to support your conclusions, but rough estimates would be sufficient (no elaborate modeling is needed).

Deadline: Wednesday (before midnight) - check Canvas calendar for specific deadlines.


Lesson 7 Activity 

Green Building: Project Planning and Cost Estimating, RSMeans, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2011.

Hakkinen, T., Helin, T., Antuna, C., Supper, S., Schiopu, N., and Nibel., S., Land Use as an Aspect of Sustainable Building, International Journal of Sustainable Land Use and Urban Planning, 1, 21-41 (2013).