Developing a perfectly energy-efficient building is relatively easy to do — if you don’t give the building’s occupants any control over their environment.
Developing a perfectly energy-efficient building is relatively easy to do — if you don’t give the building’s occupants any control over their environment. Since nobody wants that kind of building, Professor Christoph Reinhart has focused his career on finding ways to make buildings more energy-efficient while keeping user needs in mind.
“At this point in designing buildings, the biggest uncertainty comes from user behavior,” says Reinhart, who heads the Sustainable Design Lab in MIT’s Department of Architecture. “Once you understand heat flow, it’s a very exact science to see how much heat to add or take from a space.”
Trained in physics, Reinhart made the move to architecture because he wanted to apply the scientific concepts he’d learned to make buildings more comfortable and energy-efficient. Today, he is internationally known for his work in what architects call “daylighting” — the use of natural light to illuminate building interiors — and urban-level environmental building performance analysis. The design tools that emerged from his lab are used by architects and urban planners in more than 90 countries.
Read more at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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