Presentation Materials

The Growing Shift Towards Building Decarbonization

What is driving building decarbonization? Buildings account for a nearly 40% of U.S. GHG emissions, and almost a third are directly attributed to burning fossil fuels onsite. A significant, but smaller portion is from embodied carbon. The carbon emissions of buildings have remained flat in recent years, while the carbon intensity of the utility grid has declined. This slide deck will introduce the reasons behind the building decarbonization movement and why it’s so important.

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Building Decarbonization Introduction

Buildings account for nearly 40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly one third of that is from burning fossil fuels on site. This lecture gives a brief overview of how and why to decarbonize buildings. All topics covered in this slide deck will be explored further in other lectures.

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Background on Building MEP Systems

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) systems are a critical component of building energy efficiency. It is essential for all those involved in energy efficient building design to have at least a fundamental understanding of MEP systems. This slide deck is intended to give architecture students a brief overview.

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Key Elements of Building Energy Efficiency

As a designer, there are a few critical steps along the path to achieving a decarbonized building, starting with energy efficiency. These energy efficiency measures include architectural, HVAC, and lighting strategies. This slide deck will delve into the most effective strategies for building energy efficiency.

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Architectural Elements of Building Energy Efficiency

As a designer, there are a few critical steps along the path to achieving a decarbonized building. The first and most critical step is to first make the building as efficient as possible. This lecture will delve deeper into the most effective strategies for building energy efficiency from an architecture perspective.

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All Electric Building Systems for Architects

Once buildings are as energy efficiency as they can reasonably be, the next step is to decarbonize by eliminating all natural gas uses in the building. This slide deck gives an overview of systems in a typical building that use natural gas and options for replacing them with all-electric equipment.

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All Electric HVAC Systems for Engineers

While the grid is transitioning to renewable energy, the carbon emissions of buildings have remained flat in recent years. A large portion of these emissions is due to space heating, which is most often provided by fossil fuels, particularly in colder climates. Heat pumps are critical for electrification, since they are so much more efficient than electric resistance heating, they achieve a similar cost of heating to a gas boiler and a much lower cost of heating than an electric boiler, while greatly improving efficiency and reducing emissions.

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Overview of Solar PV Systems and Battery Storage in Buildings

Renewable energy and batteries are crucial to fully decarbonizing a building. In the last 10 years or so the price of solar panels has fallen dramatically, paving the way for significant adoption of this technology. Batteries are now starting to follow a similar trend. This slide deck give an overview of solar energy as it relates to buildings, and dives deeper into the different applications for energy storage.

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Solar PV Systems in Buildings for Engineers

In the last 10 years or so the price of solar panels has fallen dramatically, paving the way for significant adoption of this technology. Solar energy is a key component of building electrification, since they are currently the most cost effective way of generating renewable energy on-site. This deck explores the fuction, sizing and use of PV panels in all their building related applications.

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Battery Storage in Buildings for Engineers

Batteries are critical for storing and discharging renewable energy. For instance, they can be charged by solar panels during the day and discharged at night when solar energy is no longer available. These slides provide an introduction to battery sizing, use and applilcations and were developed with engineering students in mind. They also examine the impact of batteries on energy costs, carbon emissions and resiliency.

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Operational and Embodied Carbon

As the operational efficiency of buildings is improved, the embodied carbon of the materials used to construct the building becomes a larger part of the life cycle carbon emissions. This slide deck compares the impact of operational and embodied carbon and explores ways to reduce both.

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Decarbonization Case Studies

A key way to learn about decarbonized buildings is from studying other decarbonized buildings and identifying the aspects that made them successful or can be improved on. This slides deck describes multiple studies of decarbonized buildings across different climates and sector.

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Daylight Design Basics

This presentation is a beginners guide to excellent daylight design. It covers the importance of daylight and views, as well as several strategies for designing with daylight including exterior shades, light shelves, blinds, clear story windows, top lighting and more.

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Environmentally Sensitive and Healthy Lighting

This short presentation is intended as a supplement to the Electric Lighting Design Basics and Daylight Design Basics presentations. These slides explain the importance of considering circadian rhythms of building occupants and wildlife, and other impacts on nature when designing electric lighting.

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Lighting and Daylighting Case Studies for Commercial Buildings

This short presentation is intended as a supplement to the Electric Lighting Design Basics and Daylight Design Basics presentations. These slides shows examples of excellent lighting and daylighting design at the Lewis and Clark State Office Building in Missouri, the Empire State Building in New York, and the USGBC Headquarters in Washington, DC.

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We’d be happy to accept teaching materials to the Building Decarbonization Learning Accelerator.