EAS 519: Energy and Built Environment

Course Title

Energy and Built Environment

Course Code

EAS 519

Course Type




Instructor’s Name

Prof. Salvatore Carlucci (leader), Prof. Despina Serghides



Lectures / week

2 (2.5 hours per week)

Laboratories / week


Course Purpose and Objectives

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.

The objective of the course is to provide students with concepts, methodologies, and the latest results coming from a variety of interconnected disciplines, which help understanding the energy behavior of buildings and settlements.

Learning Outcomes

To achieve the course purpose and objective, the course will include an overview on general principles and concepts together with practical experience on the use of building performance simulation for investigating the theoretical energy performance of buildings. The course is structured in two main parts:


1) Sustainability and the Sustainable Built Environment

By the end of the course, students will:

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 solutions


2) Building Performance Simulation

By the end of the course, students will:

Properly adopt computational models to demonstrate theoretical energy performance of buildings

Know and understand the fundamental principles of BPS

Know and be able to apply the theoretical models underlying BPS software

Be capable of using one of the building performance simulation tools



Background Requirements

No special background, expertise or skills are required.

Knowledge of building components, building technical systems, and numerical methods is an advantage

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. Case studies. Short Projects.


1.   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.


2.   Hensen J.L.M., and R. Lamberts (2011). Building performance simulation for design and operation. Spon Press, Oxon, UK.


3.   Underwood, C.P., and Yik F.W.H. (2004) Modelling Methods for Energy in Buildings, 1st edition, Wiley-Blackwell. (Chapters 1-2)


4.   Clarke, J.A. (2001). Energy Simulation in Building Design, 2nd edition. Routledge, Oxon, USA. (Chapter 1)


5.   Athienitis, A., and O'Brien, W. (2015). Modeling, Design, and Optimization of Net-Zero Energy Buildings. Wiley. (Chapter 3)


6.   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)


Students will be given to read at least one book chapter, a scientific publication or a handout for each lecture (i.e. once per week). A discussion will be administered during the classwork on the material studied. Furthermore, an assignment will be given at the beginning of the course, that needs to be handed in to the teacher within the end of the course. The assignment will count for 40% and the final exam will count for 60% of the course grade.