Climate Responsive Building Skills

ARCH 576 | Spring 2015
Associate Professor Ralph Hammann


The course introduces sustainable concepts for building enclosure design with an emphasis on the large-scale residential, commercial or mixed-use building in various climate regions and urban settings. We will learn from various examples of vernacular façade designs in hot-arid, hot-humid, and moderate climates and how these concepts may be used in creating modern buildings which use less energy, are more comfortable for users, provide a healthier environment, use extensive day lighting, and provide proper shading. The course will present the key metrics for determining glazing efficiencies, such as U-, g-value, and solar heat gain coefficients. Enclosure elements which are capable of serving dual or multiple purposes (“Performance Integration”), such as enclosure and energy generation from solar thermal and solar electrical sources will be discussed. Building Integrated Photovoltaic Systems (BIPV), solar reflector concentrators, evacuated solar tubing, and other cutting edge enclosure technology will be introduced. BuildDesk® and materials selector software will be used to study embodied energy content and thermal transfer. Spectral imaging building envelope diagnostics tools will be introduced and used.

The format of the weekly course alternates student case study presentations and class discussions with lectures by the instructor.

Objectives and Outcome

Students participating in the seminar will learn of the significant importance of a building’s enclosure system for the overall performance of the building. Students are required to analyze one chosen building enclosure system of a modern building in regards to glazing, shading, glare protection, ventilation, infiltration and present the findings in a PowerPoint or pdf. presentation in class (Individual project).