EAS 518: Energy and the Built Environment


Course Title

Energy and the Built Environment

Course Code

EAS 518

Course Type




Instructor’s Name

Prof. Salvatore Carlucci (Lead Instructor), Prof. Despina Serghides



Lectures / week

1 (3 hour)

Laboratories / week


Course Purpose and Objectives

Purpose: The course uses the concept of sustainability to frame an understanding of the built environment at the community and individual building level by investigating the interaction between the urban and the natural systems. The purpose of the course is to provide students with insights on the role of technical and non-technical issues (economic, social, ecological, ethical, philosophical, political, psychological, cultural) in shaping architectural, urban and engineering decisions. Furthermore, since the building sector is responsible for a large use of resources, over the past two decades, construction industry has been required to provide buildings that perform to increasingly higher energy performance standards. In order to tackle this challenge, the course aims at offering students the theoretical foundations and practical hand-outs on building performance simulation (BPS) to enable them demonstrating a theoretical building energy performance using computational models, which this course will cover.

Objectives: The course will provide doctoral students with the advanced concepts of sustainability and sustainable built environment development. Additional emphasis is placed on the range of methods (i) to identify and select sustainable solutions to design problems; (ii) to improve existing solutions; and (iii) to stimulate critical reasoning. Students are asked to consider the many aspects of a building project, such as the economic, physical/scientific, social, psychological, historical, ethical, political, cultural and ecological aspects, and how each of these influences
the others.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the term, student should:

- Possess deep knowledge on the concepts of energy sufficiency and efficiency, sustainability and sustainable built environment development
- Know and understand technical and non-technical issues in shaping architectural and engineering decisions
- Have acquired range of methods to identify and select sustainable solutions to design problems, and to improve existing solution
- Properly adopt computational models to demonstrate theoretical energy performance of buildings 
- know and understand the fundamental principles of BPS, and the theoretical models underlying BPS software


EAS 500

Background Requirements


Course Content

1. Introduction to Sustainable Built Environment
1.1. Sustainable development and Sustainability
1.2. Sustainable development goals
1.3. Sustainable built environment development

2. Problems affecting the built environment
2.1. Energy consumption and environmental quality of building sector
2.2. Urban heat Island and Local Climate Change
2.3. Energy poverty and urban vulnerability
2.4. Defining the synergies among energy consumption, local climate change, and energy poverty

3. Technological, economic and social measures for enhancing the built environment
3.1. Eradicating energy poverty in the developed world
3.2. Mitigating the local climatic change and fighting urban vulnerability
3.3. Decreasing the energy consumption of the building sector
3.4. Low Energy Architecture in the Mediterranean Region
3.5. Smart and Sustainable Cities

4. Introduction to Building Performance Simulation (BPS)
4.1. Definitions and foundations of BPS
4.2. History, technology hype cycle, and generations of BPS
4.3. Classification and comparison of BPS tools
4.4. Complexity and model dimensions
4.5. Energy balance on the internal air point node
4.6. Stability, Consistency, and Convergence of numerical discretization

5. Goals and requirements of high-performance buildings
5.1. Sustainability targets
5.2. Indoor environmental quality, and feedback/drawback to building energy performance
5.3. Thermal comfort, Indoor Air Quality, Visual comfort

6. Boundary conditions and input variables of a numerical model of a building
6.1. The climate and site
6.2. Thermal zoning
6.3. Internal loads

7. Modelling occupant behaviour in buildings
7.1. Modelling approaches
7.2. Occupant presence
7.3. Occupant actions

8. Modelling of heat transfer though the building envelope
8.1. Conduction heat transfer
8.2. Radiative heat transfer and net radiation networks
8.3. Convective heat transfer and Airflows and contaminant transport in a building

9. Modelling of building systems
9.1. Buildings services
9.2. Modelling approaches of HVAC
9.3. HVAC systems and components
9.4. Controls and building management

10. Modelling of building-integrated renewable energy sources
10.1. Solar thermal systems
10.2. Photovoltaic systems

11. Natural and electric lighting in buildings
11.1. Daylighting and its interaction with the built environment
11.2. Artificial lighting and control strategies
11.3. Lighting outcome: maps, distributions, point values

12. Quality control in BPS and Uncertainties in building modelling
12.1. Quality control in BPS
12.2. Uncertainties in building modelling

Teaching Methodology

Lectures, seminars, tutorials.


- Santamouris M. Minimizing Energy Consumption, Energy Poverty and Global and Local Climate Change in the Built Environment: Innovating to Zero–Causalities and Impacts in a Zero Concept World. Elsevier, 2019.
- Hensen J.L.M., and R. Lamberts (2011). Building performance simulation for design and operation. Spon Press, Oxon, UK.
- Underwood, C.P., and Yik F.W.H. (2004) Modelling Methods for Energy in Buildings, 1st edition, Wiley-Blackwell. (Chapters 1-2)
- Clarke, J.A. (2001). Energy Simulation in Building Design, 2nd edition. Routledge, Oxon, USA. (Chapter 1)
- Athienitis, A., and O'Brien, W. (2015). Modeling, Design, and Optimization of Net-Zero Energy Buildings. Wiley. (Chapter 3)
- Kreider, J.F., Curtiss, P.S., and Ari, R. (2010) Heating and cooling of buildings. Design for efficiency. CRC Press. Boca Raton, USA. (Chapter 13)


Coursework, essays, presentations.