Designing Energy Efficient Buildings: The Low Hanging Fruit – So Hard To Reach

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 2:00pm
Event Type: 

1420 Mol Biol Building

Ulrike Passe, , Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, ISU

Buildings are the most complex systems operated by humans today. They consume about 40% of the US primary energy, but often they don’t even function as they should. On the other hand sustainable architecture is still too often associated with the addition of a single new technology, like photovoltaic modules, which might hopefully fix the problem of either a large carbon footprint or an excessive energy bill. But energy efficiency is not related to a single technology, which would, when applied, fix the problem. Energy efficiency demands a synergistic or systemic approach, it demands a design approach. Sometimes it can even be beneficial to look at buildings designed prior to the mechanical age. Climate responsive design is an underestimated technology, a technology, where spatial composition optimizes the energy flow existing on a site. Sustainable architecture thus starts with understanding the site and its climate and designing a building into the path of the existing prevailing energy flows available. The lecture will highlight this hypothesis with simulations and measurements of energy use in existing buildings while evaluating at the relationship between building science, design and human behavior.