Sustainable Building Design

Designing for the future

Buildings require much energy for their functioning. On an annual basis, buildings consume 39% of America's energy and 68% of its electricity, largely generated by non-renewable, fossil fuel resources. Furthermore, buildings are responsible for a sizeable contribution to greenhouse gases associated with climate change. Thus, it is essential to find ways to reduce energy consumption, increase energy efficiency, and utilize renewable fuel resources in buildings of all types. The following are typical fundamentals that characterize the learning experience of an architectural student at WPI.

Thermal loads in buildings

Energy conservation starts by understanding human comfort requirements and by optimizing design for comfort and energy consumption. The following figure shows the cross section model of a zero energy house to which computational fluids mechanics modeling is applied to assess overall heating and cooling loads.


Lighting systems in buildings

The energy efficiency analysis and design of electrical and illumination systems in buildings systems is another fundamental of the program. This course provides general introduction to the visual environment, including subjective and objective scales of measurement, visual perception, photometry, brightness, luminance, illumination, natural and artificial lighting. Design problems, field measurements, computer, and other models are used to explore energy savings options.

Building safety performance

Every year fires cause thousands of deaths among building occupants. Many research efforts have been undertaken for taming the lethal impact of fire and smoke (the main killer!). Every year fires cause thousands of deaths among building occupants. Many research efforts have been undertaken for taming the lethal impact of fire and smoke (the main killer!). A major part of building systems design is associated with addressing the fire problem, from structural resilience to fire, to operation of sprinkler systems to control fire growth and smoke management systems to control the spread of toxic products of combustion.

 
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