Asee peer logo

Challenges and Successes of Creating a Living-building Laboratory (Building as a Laboratory) for Use in the Engineering Technology Curriculum

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.293.1 - 25.293.19



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jason K. Durfee Eastern Washington University

visit author page

Jason Durfee received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University. He holds a professional engineer certification. Prior to teaching at Eastern Washington University, he was a military pilot, an engineering instructor at West Point, and an airline pilot. His interests include aerospace, aviation, professional ethics, and piano technology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Challenges and Successes of Creating a Living-Building Laboratory (Building as a Laboratory) For Use in the Engineering Technology CurriculumAbstractIn the fall of 2005 the Engineering & Design Department at our institution moved into a newlyconstructed building. During the early design stages provisions were made to allow studentsaccess to various types of data used in the operation of the building. The desire was that thebuilding would be used by students as a Living Laboratory. Students would be able to see howthe theory that was taught in their classes was put into practical use throughout the building.Courses taught in the department could use the actual data from the building in laboratoryassignments. Core mechanical engineering courses such as thermodynamics, fluid mechanicsand strength of materials would be able to use this data for student lab work. Electricalengineering students would be able to observe the digital control and feedback processes.Modifications were made to the original design in order to provide for this new use of thebuilding. However, although the provisions for installing all of the desired equipment were builtinto the final building, as the construction of the building progressed fiscal concerns caused areduction in the number of Living-Building Laboratory components that were actually funded.In 2008 our department secured a National Science Foundation grant in order to install somecomponents of the original concept into the building. This paper constitutes the lessons learnedfrom this effort as well as information on how the data was used to enhance program courses andthe impact it had on student learning. Additionally, notes will be given to assist anyone thatdesires to attempt such a project in the future.

Durfee, J. K. (2012, June), Challenges and Successes of Creating a Living-building Laboratory (Building as a Laboratory) for Use in the Engineering Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21051

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015