4.401 / 4.464
Environmental Technologies in Buildings

UG: 4.401, G: 4.464
Required of: 
BSA (4.401), MArch (4.464)

The primary focus of this course is the study of the thermal, luminous and acoustical behavior of buildings. The course examines the basic scientific principles underlying these phenomena and introduces students to a range of technologies and analysis techniques for designing comfortable indoor environments. Students will be challenged to apply these techniques and explore the role energy, light and sound can play in shaping architecture.

Following a review of how to analyze a site’s climate and local energy mix, the first part of the course is dedicated to the principles of heat storage and heat flow in and around buildings. Basic manual and computer-based methods to predict the energy use of buildings will also be discussed. In order to introduce students to the effective use of computer simulations during design, a Building Optimization Game that mimics a sustainable design charrette will be organized during regular class time on Nov 2. During the game, students will compete in groups who develops the building with the lowest energy use within a given cost budget.

The second part of the course will introduce students to the art and science of lighting buildings along with rules of thumb and computer-based methods for analyzing daylight within and around buildings. The last part of the course provides an overview of building acoustics and sound attenuation.

The course format consists of semiweekly lectures and weekly labs. Individual and group assignments as well as in-class presentations and exercises will help students to study the use of environmental technologies in contemporary buildings.

Learning Objectives
The course aims to help students to:

  • understand and apply the scientific principles underlying the thermal, luminous and acoustical behavior of buildings,
  • learn to evaluate the pros and cons of a range of technologies for creating comfortable indoor environments,
  • conduct a series of design analysis workflows regarding climate, building energy use and daylighting and
  • acquire the knowledge required to critically discuss/present the environmental concept of a building.