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433 - Breakthrough Energy Efficiency and Net Zero Buildings

Core/Elective: Elective
Credits: 0.5
Quarter Taught: Spring



This course dives into the opportunity to accelerate development in the built environment and to set a pathway to net zero buildings. The class will build on foundational energy efficiency courses and establish a perspective on more advanced and accelerated growth of zero carbon solutions in the buildings sector.



Course Objectives:

  • Understand the concept of sustainable buildings and how they relate to the UN SDGs
    • Ability to explain passive design and net zero buildings as energy-efficient solutions
    • Describe the passive buildings design strategies, to use renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind and geothermal, to provide natural heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting for indoor environments.
    • Identify net zero energy building systems and applications, to convert (on-site/off-site) renewable energies into electrical and thermal energy.
  • Build exposure to emerging standards such as Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) and Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification programs
  • Review the future of energy efficiency considering:
    • Conventional vs. integrative design
    • Passive thermal comfort in cold, hot, and humid climates
    • Lighting
    • Water heating
    • Appliances and other loads
  • Discussion of practical considerations:
    • Design, construction, commissioning, improvement, and adaptation
    • Real-estate implications