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Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-3937-7329

DOI

https://doi.org/10.7275/w3zn-gw65

Abstract

Building technology can promote environmental sustainability and is a critical component of energy conservation. Well-functioning indoor microclimates do not only affect buildings, however—occupant health must also be considered. Recent research has demonstrated that sustainability and occupant health go hand-in-hand when designing or retrofitting a building. What is the best way to accomplish these goals and to effectively preserve a balance among architecture, efficiency, and health when designing and constructing new buildings? What is then the best approach to integrating this building technology knowledge into an architecture course? This research-educational project introduced an investigation of the effects of two different building assembly strategies (located in the hot and humid climate of San Antonio, TX) to a building science course. With faculty guidance, architecture students designed (and will build next semester) two distinctive testbeds following the San Antonio building code and Passivhaus standard, a standard focused on energy efficiency and healthy architecture. The indoor air temperatures, relative humidity levels, and R-values of both structures were simulated and compared during class. The effects of the outdoor environment parameters like air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed were also explored. The results underline the positive effect of the Passivhaus standard envelope, which considerably reduces the indoor temperature as compared to the city code assembly. Additionally, indoor air quality parameters such as carbon dioxide (CO2), particle concentration (PM2.5 and PM10), total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and formaldehyde (HCHO), will be also measured and analyzed once the building phase is complete.

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