Buildings consume large amounts of resources in both their construction and operation. Systems for regulating thermal comfort in buildings represent the greatest opportunity for enhancing building energy performance. In addition, thermal comfort represents the top two sources of building occupant complaints while a number of studies have indicated that perceived thermal comfort and established “objective” comfort criteria do not always align. Over the past two decades, construction industry teams have been required to provide buildings that perform to increasingly higher energy performance standards. In the design phase, architects and engineers are able to demonstrate a theoretical energy performance using computer models, which this course will cover.
Additionally, the course will provide doctoral students with the advanced concepts of sustainability and sustainable built environment development. Emphasis is placed on understanding natural systems, the interaction of the built environment (infrastructure) with natural systems, and the role of technical and non-technical (economic, social, ecological, ethical, philosophical, political, psychological, cultural) issues in shaping architectural & engineering decisions. Additional emphasis is placed on the range of methods: methods to identify and select sustainable solutions to design problems; methods of improving existing solutions; and methods of reasoning. Students are asked to consider the many aspects of a single “project,” such as the economic, physical/scientific, social, psychological, historical, ethical, political, cultural and ecological aspects, and how each of these influences the others.