Salovich Zero+ Campus Design Project
Salovich Zero Plus Campus Design Project


Whole Building Analysis


Instructor:  Loren Abraham, Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Architectcure

Critics:  Orlyn Miller, Director and Monique McKenzie, Capital Planner, Capital Planning and Project Management, University of Minnesota; Mary Guzowski, Professor, School of Architecture; and Lance Neckar, Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture

Course Format:  15-week seminar; 3 credits

Course Description

This course provides students with opportunities to learn about energy use and energy conservation measures employed in buildings and to gain experience with methods for evaluating ecological performance of buildings including energy demand, thermal loads, and the process for achieving optimal integrated design solutions. In addition students perform daylighting and energy simulation and performance assessment of simple buildings; understand the main principles of the thermal envelope, materials and construction (incuding living walls and roof systems, internal gains, operation controls, weather, HVAC systems, zoning), and become familiar with the process of “Building Life-cycle Cost Analysis.” This is a project-based course with student teams working directly for an actual “client” on planned building projects for the University of Minnesota Campus. The course explores fundamental questions related to modeling and improving building performance: a) What are the performance criteria and metrics that can be assessed relating to energy and environmental performance?, b) What are the preferred tools and methods for assessing building performance and how can we best use them to inform the design process?, c) How do we select from the myriad of technologies, materials and strategies available that if optimally exploited could move toward synergetic “zero energy” performance, and d) How can we provide designers, owners and facilities managers comparative life-cycle cost data that will help in the decision-making process?


Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to:

  • Introduce students to a method for holistic building performance assessment for the purpose of achieving cost-effective Zero Energy Design.
  • Provide hands-on experience with design tools and analysis methods for achieving zero carbon emissions and zero energy performance goals.
  • Provide experience working for a real client on real planned projects where proposed solutions will have future potential value.
  • Enable students to develop an effective design process and methodology based on empirical (simulated) performance and comparative life-cycle cost data. 


Course Work

The course introduces students to various design tools, including Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) and Energy 10. Other tools that will be employed may include Ecotect, Radiance, DAYSIM and the EnergyPlus plugin for Sketchup. The students take on the role of a consultant and will meet with the “client” (Capital Planning and Project Management staff) to determine the scope and specific requirements for a modestly-scaled and locally-based building project. They develop several potential scenarios or discrete bundles of energy conservation measures intended to achieve an incremental level of performance with the “Zero Energy Design” solution as the penultimate scenario.  Environmental strategies and renewable energy systems are to be modeled and compared. Students complete a “shoebox” model energy simulation, run parametric studies related to envelope and fenestration configuration in order to determine optimal design specifications, and use their results and findings to inform their proposed design solution and continue to make incremental design improvements.


Project Overview          

Working with the “client” (Capital Planning and Project Management staff) and an actual campus building project, students investigate a set of ecological, energy and resource issues, and building operation objectives. Project exercises center around 7 key topic areas:

  • “Shoebox” Analysis - Calculating Loads and Energy Use                                                      
  • Optimizing the Envelope - Parametric Studies                                                                      
  • Optimizing Windows and Shading - Parametric Studies                                                        
  • Evaluating daylighting performance using Radiance and DAYSIM                                        
  • Analyzing the Impact of Shading and Living Envelopes on HVAC Loads                              
  • Advanced Building and Landscape Modeling Strategies                                                        
  • Building Life-cycle Cost Analysis                                                                                         
  • Final Integrated Design        




Whole Building Analsis Syllabus


Project Statements

Exercise 1A: Shoebox Model

Exercise 1B: ASHRAE Baseline

Exercise 2: Thermal Envelope Model

Exercise 3: Daylight Model

Exercise 4: Evaluating & Presenting Results

Exercise 5: Site and Water

Exercise 6: Holistic Integration


Student Projects

Team 1: Tate Lab

Team 2:  Residence Hall

Team 3: Rapson Hall (pending PDF from Kamana)