Sustainable Building Design

Alliance for Global Sustainability
Principal investigators: Leon Glicksman, Julie Dorsey, Qingyan Chen & Les Norford
Sponsor: Alliance for Global Sustainability

MIT has a major international effort underway in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institute of technology and the University of Tokyo dealing with global sustainability. In the buildings area there are research projects underway on tools for sustainable design and indoor air quality. The design tools are intended as simple intuitive graphical tools that designers and city planners can use in the initial phases of design. The tools will present the implications of energy, renewable materials, and air quality, among others, for different projected designs. Graduate students are presently developing graphical representations of the sustainability factors and algorithms for rapid real time calculation of sustainability indices. In a parallel effort researchers and students from the three universities are coordinating a research effort to relate the materials used in a building interior with the level of pollutants and indoor air quality.

Sustainable Housing for China
Principal investigators: Qingyan Chen, Leon Glicksman, Leslie Norford & Andrew Scott
Sponsor: Kann-Rasmussen Foundation and KHI


A new design with good natural ventilation

We are designing buildings for developing countries, such as China, with the most promising technologies. Several prototype designs of energy efficient systems and buildings are being developed for Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The work is in cooperation with Tsinghua University in Beijing and Tongji University in Shangai together with several developers. The emphasis on the work is to develop simple generic solutions that are appropriate to the local area, are very cost effective, and will be accepted by the local people. Click here for more information.

International Studies
Principal investigator: Les Norford
Sponsors: Aga Khan Program, MIT HASS Fund, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Building Technology faculty and students have teamed with Architectural Design faculty and students to improve housing and institutional buildings in Pakistan and India, an effort initiated by the Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture. Work includes studies of the benefits of thermal insulation, structural analyses to determine needed seismic reinforcing, and design and construction of new or renovated housing and schools. MIT is also taking a leading role in developing a new generation of building energy codes for Russia, a project that has included work with regional authorities and with the construction industry, to identify cost-effective improvements in the building construction and heating systems.

Energy Conservation in Office Equipment and Lighting
Principal investigator: Les Norford
Sponsors: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

A series of studies evaluated the impact of office electronics on building energy. Work included estimates of market growth and aggregated impact on the electric power system, a technical assessment of opportunities for reduced energy usage, development of test procedures to provide standard measures of equipment energy consumption, and measurements of new equipment that includes power-management features. For lighting, a separate project is evaluating systems for distributing light through buildings with fiber optics or light guides. This system offers the possibility of stripping the heat from large, centralized lamp banks to reduce air-conditioning loads.