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The Carbon Neutral Design Project:
Carbon Neutral Teaching: Curriculum Materials Development
Gregory D. Thomson
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Spring 2008 UWM Solar Decathlon Carbon Neutral House Project
- mixed UG/G comprehensive design studio (first semester)

Passive Heating & Cooling

Bioclimatic Chart

Design Performance Objective

Thermal Analysis

The evaluation of bioclimatic conditions in a building should start with conceptual models of analysis. Using the climate data from previous exercises, students can evaluate conceptual and schematic thermal conditions. This process is based on the work of Victor and Aladar Olgyay. The work shown above includes course work from an associated lecture course on illumination and thermal comfort.

Students: UWM Solar Decathlon Team
Software / Tools:

Chart from Sun, Wind and Light

Spring 2008 UWM Solar Decathlon Carbon Neutral House Project- mixed UG/G comprehensive design studio (first semester)

Passive Heating & Cooling

Develop Strategies for passive heating and cooling.

• course and project outline

Investigative Strategy

Analyze bioclimatic data for conceptual design appropriateness. Develop schematic design detail for the chosen strategy, using more detailed climatic information. Progress from annual average conditions to detailed monthly and hourly data for more accurate analysis.

Evaluation Process

Compare the conceptual passive strategies chosen by bioclimatic analysis with the results of more detailed analysis methods. Discuss absolute and relative differences between monthly conditions and climate zones. While these are shown as different categories on the CND project list, I see them as part and parcel of the same design problem. In part this is true because any passive strategies – heating or cooling, require that the strategy be bioclimatically appropriate beyond the conceptual level.

This exercise starts with the re-evaluation of the psychrometric and bioclimatic charts. Climate will dictate what is appropriate and achievable. In the case of the Solar Decathlon project, mass is eliminated as a passive strategy because of the travel component of the competition. It is therefore necessary to look at the passive cooling and heating gas a stepped process that progresses from conceptual conditions of annual and monthly average climatic conditions to a finer grain of detail that is evaluated using monthly and hourly climatic data.

Evaluative Criteria


Cautions - Possible Confusions
Range of Applicability in terms of CLIMATE
Range of Applicability in terms of TYPE
Reference Material

Duration of Exercise

Degree of Difficulty / Previous Knowledge Required



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