Asee peer logo

Using Building Simulation to Teach High Performance and Integrated Design

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Collaborative Projects in Architectural Engineering Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1307.1 - 23.1307.28



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jacob Nathan Dunn University of Idaho Integrated Design Lab

visit author page

Jacob Dunn recently graduated with his Master's of Architecture from the University with the AIA Henry Adams Medal of Honor for his academic excellence and extracurricular involvement. Currently, Dunn is a research scientist at the University of Idaho’s Integrated Design Lab (IDL) in Boise, where he works on a daily basis with building performance simulation in both the realm of academic research and the professional world of sustainability consulting. His official title is “Architectural Simulation Specialist” and has worked on a wide range of simulation projects dealing with both new construction and deep renovation across multiple different system types. The simulation work can range from understanding architectural design load implications, to optimizing a passive solar strategy for a zone/building, to simulating complex distribution systems and HVAC types. Dunn also serves as a teachers assistant for various courses at the Idaho Urban Research and Development Center, the satellite graduate architecture program for the University of Idaho. He has helped deliver coursework for daylight simulation classes, run independent study courses, and facilitate integrated architecture studios with mechanical engineering students.

visit author page


Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg

visit author page

Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg is an assistant professor at the University of Idaho and director of the Integrated Design Lab in Boise (UI-IDL). He has a Ph.D. in the Built Environment from the University of Washington. Van Den Wymelenberg opened the UI-IDL in 2004 and has successfully secured/completed over $4.5M in funded research and outreach in energy efficiency for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the United States Environment Protection Agency, the Idaho Power Company, the New Buildings Institute and others. Van Den Wymelenberg has consulted on several hundred new construction and major renovation projects with architects and engineers regarding daylight and energy in buildings since 2000. He has presented at many conferences including LightFair International and Passive Low Energy Architecture. He has authored several papers related to daylighting, visual comfort, and low energy design strategies. He is chair of the IENSA’s Daylight Metrics Committee and the Governor’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Task Force in Idaho. He also represents the University of Idaho in the Center for Advanced Energy Studies’ Energy Efficiency Research Institute.

visit author page


Sherry McKibben IURDC, University of Idaho

visit author page

Sherry McKibben is University of Idaho associate professor of Architecture and director of the University of Idaho’s Idaho Urban Research and Design Center (IURDC) in Boise. Under her supervision, architecture students and faculty of the Center have undertaken many sustainable urban design and civic architecture demonstration projects with Treasure Valley communities--applying, advocating, and educating on Smart Growth and high performance buildings and sites. She founded the UI Integrated Design Lab and continues to work with Director Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg to educate students and professionals to promote energy efficiency and high performance.
Sherry McKibben is also an architect and urban designer with the Treasure Valley architecture and urban design firm of McKibben & Cooper Architects/Urban Design. McKibben & Cooper specializes in sustainable urban design, architecture and site technologies.
As a board member for Idaho Smart Growth, member of the Urban Land Institute, US Green Building Council, the American Institute of Architects, McKibben works to promote sustainability and is a devoted public speaker on these subjects.
McKibben has a B.Arch. from the University of Oregon, a M.Arch. degree from Yale University, and is U.S. Green Building Council LEED accredited.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Using Building Simulation to Teach High Performance and Integrated DesignIn contemporary practice, two factors have a substantial impact on the way that we designbuildings. The first, integrated design, is an old concept that has seen new popularity in light ofthe need for deep energy savings in new and existing buildings. The second, buildingperformance modeling, is a new and constantly evolving technology that changes the landscapeof design on almost a quarterly basis. The marriage of these two factors can empower designteams to make astute decisions about aesthetics and energy, while providing a framework uponwhich to manage an integrated design team. The advancement of these two proceduralimprovements are fixed within academia, whose structure and programs address thecollaborative problems inherent within the professional practices of the building industry. Thispaper follows the implementation of an integrated architecture and engineering studio thataddresses the pedagogy of integrated design through the use of building performance simulationas a vehicle for reintegration.Building performance simulation is essential to understanding the complex balance betweenenergy and design and thus to achieving high-performing buildings. Simulation is a tool thatprovides the opportunity to understand design and performance simultaneously, which balancesthe competing interests of the building professions in a high-performance project. The buildingindustry is starting to embrace the potential of this software, but few documents exist to defineworkflows between the disciplines and how these disciplines interact in the integrated designprocess.This paper documents the process of executing a simulation-based integrated studio for graduatearchitecture students, landscape architecture students, and upper-level mechanical engineeringstudents between the University of Idaho and Boise State University. The studio formed threemulti-disciplinary, cross-collegiate teams to design a high-performance, 20,000 square footrecreation center along the Boise River. The students had little to no experience with thesoftware packages used for the course, which included OpenStudio v 0.6.0, EnergyPlus V6 forenergy simulation, and Radiance for advanced daylighting analysis.Each student group produced a comprehensive building and site design that quantified energyconsumption and load reduction from over twenty simulated energy efficiency measures. At theend of the course, the students presented their work in a critique format and, in addition, turnedin a final book that documented their simulation analysis throughout all phases of theproject. For evaluation methodology, extensive pre and post-course surveys were administeredto the students to quantify their perceptions about their partner disciplines, their own discipline,and their professional efficacy.Multiple insights were made into the simulation workflow between architects and engineersthroughout the integrated design process. Both student disciplines worked simultaneously on thesame energy model throughout the entire design process, from schematic form studies toadvanced HVAC modeling. This is an atypical workflow in the profession, but proved to becritical in helping the architecture students understand the impacts of their design decisions onenergy. The sharing of energy models throughout the design process was also critical for theengineering students to understand the link between building form, landscape, heating andcooling loads, and HVAC design opportunities. Results from pre and post-surveys showedsubstantial increases in students’ confidence in linking their design decisions to daylight andenergy performance.The major challenge of the studio proved to be the steep learning curve in using some of themost accurate and comprehensive building simulation tools available today. Understanding,displaying, and communicating a wide spectrum of performance metrics was also very difficultfor the students. These challenges illuminated the need to situate the studio within a curriculumdedicated to teaching simulation as well as the need for software development to supportintegration across design, daylight, and energy analysis platforms.Fig 1. Sample of Evaluation Results for Architecture and Engineering Student Learning Objectives (discipline-specific learning objectives were also included in the evaluation)

Dunn, J. N., & Van Den Wymelenberg, K., & McKibben, S. (2013, June), Using Building Simulation to Teach High Performance and Integrated Design Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22692

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: © 2013 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