All Teaching Resources

9 Lab: Mechanical Systems Tour or Hunt

Two versions of a lab using the campus to explore MEP systems. One approach involves campus facilities leading a behind the scenes tour of mechanical spaces, and students reporting back on the equipment and systems they observe. The other (if that is not possible) is a simple scavenger hunt in which students find traces of the MEP systems and performance in the spaces they can regularly occupy. Both are designed as individual (and pretty minimal) assignments but could expand and adapt.

3 Lab: Solar Site Survey

Outdoor lab exercise using a solar transit to discuss the apparent motion of the sun relative to a specific site. Introduces concepts of solar declination, magnetic declination, the equation of time, local sunrise and sunset, and generating an overshadowing mask/site horizon. Designed for a group, could be adapted to solo. Obviously requires the transits, see the transit resource for how to make them.

ES Final Exam

Summative assessment for the Environmental Systems course, organized around students assessing and then redesigning a case study building. This example uses Phillip Johnson's glass house. I typically keep the questions the same but change buildings ever year. I post the attached study guide the first day of class to help students know what they will have to know. The goal of this exam is not declarative knowledge, it requires some degree of procedural knowledge, and especially contextual knowledge and judgement to apply and integrate what has been learned all semester (especially in labs). As in life, on this exam, there is no right answer, but there are wrong answers, and some answers are definitely better than others.

This exam and approach is based on one shared by Siobhan Rockcastle.

10 Workshop: Building Simulation

An in-class workshop using simple building simulation to test the effect of climate and basic properties (envelope, systems, orientation) on building performance. Uses a very simple building, designed to be completed by an individual during a single class period. Could be easily adapted to other software, or to focus on specific building science issues.

4 Design Project: Solar Control

Brief design exercise in which students test and then edit a physical model of a window for both passive solar heating, and to control overheating. Students test using sun-peg chart/pocket heliodon (but could be done with a proper Helidon if available). Students construct an overshadowing mask with manual methods.

11 Lab: Acoustics

A short lab exercise designed for individual students to experience the qualitative and calculate some quantitative aspects of acoustic performance. Designed to be completed in a single lab period.

This exercise is inspired by Barbara Erwine. I highly recommend her book Creating sensory spaces: The architecture of the invisible. Taylor & Francis, 2016. ISBN 9781138918771.

5 Lab: Envelopes

Lab exercise focused on envelope performance, specifically calculations of steady-state conduction, and simplified assessment of condensation risk (dew-point analysis). Lab includes a walking tour with IR camera to explore wall construction and performance, and students individually hypothesize and analyze those constructions, and compare to local energy code. Designed as an individual assignment.

12 Design Exercise: Integration

A final design exercise focused on integration of prior experiences, and on the graphic communication of performance and design information. Designed for an individual student and around the production of a single integrated systems diagram for a pin-up review.

6 Lab: Balance Point Game

My version of the ever-popular balance point game in which students modify a simple physical model of a building (a glass cube) to affect the internal temperature. This version is compressed to run in a one-hour lab, but still allow competitive game play. Focuses on various forms of heat transfer and storage, and on system dynamics. Can be played with elementary through PhD students, depending on how you frame the conversation. Designed for groups, and obviously requires construction of the boxes!

7 Lab Daylighting Analysis

Lab exercise in which students construct a simple daylight model, predict the qualitative and quantitative distribution of light, and then measure the model under overcast conditions. Designed to be done as teams in a week, but could be expanded to address additional issues or made individual. See also the related Design exercise 8.

This exercise is based on and adapted from the work of Professor Charles Benton, U.C. Berkeley School of Architecture.
This work, including all images, is used with permission under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike license.

1 Lab: Secret Life of Buildings

A lab activity connecting qualitative sensation of thermal comfort in indoor spaces with qualitative assessment using instruments (thermometer, globe thermometer, IR pyrometer.) Introduces concepts of radiation, MRT, emissivity, metabolic rate. Includes assignment sheet for students, notes for the instructor. Designed for a group, easy to change to individual.

8 Design Exercise: Daylighting

Design exercise exploring the ability of daylight to create various effects. Students use and modify the same physical model as in the analytical exercise 7. Designed to work with teams and take about a week, but could be adapted to individuals, and/or expanded to a larger project.

This exercise is based on and adapted from the work of Professor Charles Benton, U.C. Berkeley School of Architecture.
This work, including all images, is used with permission under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike license.

Thermal Imaging Lab

A lab assignment that asks students to perform an enclosure assessment by detecting sources of air leakage and thermal bridging utilizing infrared thermography

In this lab we ask students to perform an enclosure assessment by detecting sources of air leakage and thermal bridging in one of our buildings using infrared thermometers along with infrared thermography.

Air leaks show up different from thermal bridges although they can often look similar on infrared images. They learn to distinguish between the two types and assess the consequences to a building’s enclosure performance.

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