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


Zero+ Design Studio Module


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

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

Course Format:  7-week studio module, 4 credits

Course Description

The Zero+ Design Module offers an interdisciplinary design and research experience exploring the interrelationships of energy, waste, water, and carbon emissions with the stated goal of achieving net-zero performance targets through architecture and landscape design (or even becoming an exporter of resources to the surrounding community).

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to:

  • Introduce students to a theoretical and practical framework for an ecological approach to integrated living building design.
  • Provide fundamental concepts, principles, strategies, and design tools for achieving zero carbon emissions, zero energy, zero water and zero waste design goals.
  • Use hands-on fieldwork, case study analyses, and design investigations to explore and apply these concepts, principles, and skills.
  • Enable and encourage students to develop their own integrated ecological design process and methodology. 


Course Work

The course investigates the ecological opportunities of integrated zero energy, zero water and zero waste design through a modestly-scaled and locally-based design project. The project explorations focus on iterative studies using computer analysis tools and other qualitative and quantitative investigations. Exercises integrate various ecological design considerations. The course will include: 1) informal and formal design critiques, 2) brief in-class presentations of issues and exemplars, 3) discussion of readings and case studies, and 4) hands-on experience, observations, and qualitative and quantitative assessment of the use of energy, water and waste management practices in exemplary regional buildings.

Project Overview                                                                                              

Working with a nearby site and building project, students investigate a set of ecological, energy, and resource issues and building operation objectives. The proposed project design solution is developed incrementally over the 7 week period based on the following course topics.

  • Precedent/Case Study Research
  • Evaluating Energy and Carbon Emissions
  • Calculating water, runoff and waste
  • Assessing Urban Heat Island Impacts
  • Establishing Linkages and creating synergies
  • Getting to the next level - “zero+” performance
  • Measuring success - Integrated Zero+ Design


Zero+ Design Syllabus


Project Statements

Exercise 1: Precedent Study

Exercise 2: Site Analysis

Exercise 3: Water and Runoff

Exercise 4: Urban Heat Island

Exercise 6: Integration


Student Projects

1. Fuller and Holmberg-Johnson

2. Keeler, Wilkus, and Garrison

3. Schmitz and Stephens

4. Lemon, Mata, Brenny, Villamil, Phan, and Pho