Modeling Urban Energy Flows ⎯ Towards Sustainable Cities and Neighborhoods

Open to graduates and undergraduates.

The primary focus of this course is the study of energy flows in and around groups of buildings. The investigated scales will range from individual buildings to urban “proto blocks” (around twenty buildings) and complete neighborhoods that include hundreds of buildings.

Students will learn about and practice the use of emerging digital techniques that allow them to analyze and influence building energy use, access to daylight as well as walkability and bikability at these three scales through deliberate design interventions. An initial learning objective is for students to appreciate that in dense urban settings buildings strongly interact with each other and thus create urban microclimates that significantly alter their energy use from what it would be if they were placed sufficiently far away from each other. These microclimatic effects include shading of neighboring buildings, urban heat island effects and localized wind patterns. Predicted climate change projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the coming 90 years will be used in simulations, and student projects will be evaluated in current and future climate scenarios.

Throughout the course, students will work in groups on the design of a 'sustainable' mixed use urban neighborhood that makes effective use of the above mentioned physical effects to the benefit of residents and the environment.