Designing and Manufacturing Zero Fossil Energy Buildings with 3D/4D Parametric Performance Tools

By Thomas Spiegelhalter.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

“Architecture is a tool,” once wrote the media theorist Vilém Flusser when addressing the first Intl. Symposium on ‘Intelligent Buildings’ in 1987”. [1] “Tools change our thoughts, feelings, and desires.” [2] Flusser’s thesis is: “we are governed by our tools even though we design them ourselves.” [2] We can look at the history of mankind as a feedback process between tools and human beings. That is, “. . . exactly what we are doing when we divide history into earlier and a later stone age, a copper and bronze age, and an iron age.” [2] Today, scientists create computational tools to solve society’s problem of diminishing resources and climate change. The architectural profession appears to be in the throws of a massive technological transformation. However, the profession’s transformation efforts utilize poor sustainability practices in architecture, which has slowed education in carbon-neutral-building and resource-use-benchmarking with parametric-design-software tools. This begs the question of whether architectural curricula and professional initiatives are effective. The current profession’s inability to reach the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (UNIPCC) goal of reducing average CO2e to 80 percent (approximately 1.3 metric tons per person per capita world-wide) by 2050 is alarming. Carbon-neutral-design and resource-use-benchmarking for a greener tomorrow on a comparable global level remains widely unaddressed, despite the increasing, world-wide planning support and exchange with interoperable, parametric BIM mega-data modeling tools. The situation calls for a rapid and fundamental reorientation of our professional practice of and the education in the process of designing, constructing, and operating buildings. This paper is a critical examination of how parametric 3D/4D modeling with integrated sensor-technology can assist us in producing detailed ‘what if’ resource-usage and lifecycle scenarios, which enhance the design, manufacturing, operation, monitoring, and benchmarking of zero-fossil-energy buildings towards carbon neutrality.

Keywords: 3D/4D Parametric Modeling, BIM, Intellingent Design, Lifecycle, CO2e Reduction, Carbon Neutral Buildings, Zero-Net-Energy-building NET-ZEB

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.27-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 8.020MB).

Prof. Thomas Spiegelhalter

Professor, Sustainability and Design , Environmental Systems, Advanced Systems Integration, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA

Thomas Spiegelhalter has realized research demonstration work in Europe and the US in numerous contextual, solar, zero fossil energy, and low energy building realizations projects; large scale, sustainability master planning; and redevelopment projects for abandoned post-industrial sites. Many of his completed projects have been published in international anthologies. He includes in his master planning, research, and consultation projects, multiple sustainability measurement criteria systems such as the ISO 9000/14000 standards, IEA Solar City, the European Building Energy Performance Certificate Methodology, the World GBC, CASBEE, DNGB, Energy Star, Cascadia, and the USGBC LEED rating systems. Since 1990, he has worked with numerous E.U. and U.S. universities to research multidisciplinary ecological engineering projects. As a result of his 20 years of design and built work, professional consulting, awarded research, and teaching he has received 54 prizes, awards, and honors in European and US sustainability competitions.