ARCH 464 
Environmental Control Systems

Educational Goals

Reducing Environmental Impacts
The design of buildings and cities is a contributing cause of every major environmental problem today. Buildings use a third of the energy in the US; consume vast quantities of finite, non-renewable resources; produce one-half of the world's CO2 emissions, which encourage global warming; and represent half of the world's CFC consumption, which contributes to atmospheric ozone depletion. Architectural design decisions are responsible for 1) environmental externalities, such as the off-site effects of energy and materials production and consumption; 2) on-site effects, such as destruction of local ecosystems, habitat, and the pollution of air, water, and soil; 3) indoor air pollution, caused by toxic building materials, poor construction practices, and poorly designed ventilation. Students must learn the consequences of their future design decisions.

Process-Integrated Technology
Students learn about technological questions in terms of their design context. Systems are presented as integrated with design process, with appropriately detailed methods applied at each stage. For instance, rule-of-thumb methods and graphic analyses are used for preliminary design and more detailed analytical calculation procedures are introduced as more detail about the design emerges. In this way, analysis can be integrated with the generative and iterative process of architectural design. The interrelationships among different technical systems and between technical systems and other design concerns is stressed, particularly the aesthetic, formal, and experiential opportunities in environmental control systems.

Holistic Systems Thinking
Educationally, technology is usually approached scientifically and analytically, rather than aesthetically or integratively. Designers must see technology as a part of several larger wholes. Technological issues are presented holistically, including their aesthetic, social, and formal implications. Architects do not usually begin a design by thinking analytically about particular individual issues, such as saving energy. Instead, the early stages of design are process of synthesis in which graphic, diagrammatic images are used to generate and represent several ideas simultaneously. This holism and simultaneous consideration aligns well with a systems approach to understanding, rather the mechanistic Cartesian approach that had been the hallmark of technology education in the 20th century.

Formal Implications of Technology
Technology is most often thought of as a subject of practicality, considered after the more glamorous activity of "design." Rather than learning about technology as a means to more lofty ends, it is more important to understand the formal implications of technological systems, and the possibility for the convergence, overlap, and tension between technical agendas and other architectural intentions. The course aims to enable designers to create a building as a light fixture, a building as a heat exchanger, a building as an energy storage system, as a catchment system, and ideally, as an ecosystem. The approaching requirements for exclusive use of renewable energy, within the life-span of buildings built today, mandate that the architecture addresses issues of sustainability, while still offering opportunities for beauty, delight, and affection.