AAR4546 - Emissions as Design Drivers - Design


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Letters

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
Assignment 100/100

Course content

The key objective of the parallel design and theory courses (AAR4817 + AAR4546) is to link theory and design i.e. LEARN THROUGH DOING. The aim of both courses is to enable students to develop deep knowledge and learn how to integrate emission calculations to achieve energy positive and potentially net Zero Emission buildings (nZEBs) in a refurbishment and context. Achieving a net zero emission neighbourhood (ZEN) may be set as an additional requirement depending on the chosen context for the design project. The students will learn methods to analyse the key drivers that contribute to lowering energy and CO2eq emissions in order to achieve the net zero emission ambitions.

Course structure and content:
The ZEB design and theory courses run in parallel comprising of thrice weekly sessions combining theory (lectures), workshop (use of tools) + studio guidance (design) sessions. These run on a weekly basis on Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s.

The design course (AAR4546) comprises of two tasks which run consecutively throughout the semester. The students begin by conducting one week intensive materials investigation to gain a deep understanding of the tectonic and sustainable qualities of the materials (Task 1). This is followed by a two week intensive Cultural Heritage module which involves documentation and mapping of the building condition and context on site(Task 2). The students are expected to build upon and develop the concepts learned in Task 1+2 in their main design project which will be of 10 week duration.

Typically, a 'live' and ongoing research project is used as the main design project which usually involves some aspect of integration with an existing neighbourhood or building. The students should use their design project to investigate how can we document what we gain (or lose?) by keeping/restoring the old building, compared to demolition and new-build in terms of cultural values, experienced qualities etc.?

1) Adaptive Reuse of the building with minimal insertion of new materials (maximise use of wood/biobased/ materials)
2) Demolition of existing building plus maximised reuse of existing materials i.e. brick , wood, industrial machinery etc
3) Demolition of existing building plus construction of new building using new materials
4) More LCA scenarios of different restoration alternatives.
a) How to restore the building to manage new energy demands, while keeping the old outer facade?
b) How the insulation then must be designed with regards to moisture?
c) How can wood/biobased/other materials help to achieve better insulation values, indoor climate, ventilation etc.?
5) In addition to understanding existing buildings and renovation
a) How to plan new buildings for flexibility and renovations?
b) Study if/how old buildings are suitable for renovation at all?

Learning outcome

The students will learn how to apply LCA method in architectural design. Specifically they will learn how their different choices (from materials of facades to building shapes) change the environmental impact (calculated as Global Warming Potential) of their design.
The students will produce alternative choices of their design and compare their environmental impact.
Specific outcomes of the course will be:
- understand how greenhouse gas emissions act as a driver for architectural design
- develop architectural concepts and strategies through sustainable transformation to achieve an energy positive and potentially, a net zero emission building in a refurbishment context
- calculate a net ZEB balance between the GHG emissions from the building materials, the GHG emissions from the building operation, and the GHG emissions credited from renewable energy systems
- use of tools for performing an LCA of their design
- interdisciplinary group cooperation.

Skills: apply methods to analyse the various elements that contribute to lowering CO2 emissions in the design and operation of their designs.

General compentence: understanding durability and life cycle of materials and their implication on the environmental impact of the built environment.
zero emission ambitions, integrating strategies for sustainable transformation, cultural heritage and materials into high-quality architecture.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and presentations; Design studio guidance; Oral project presentations and discussions with teachers, external professionals and classmates.

Learning methods and activities:
Design course (AAR4546) Weekly Studio Guidance

Tasks 1 + 2 should be presented using text, drawings of the existing building. Diagrams, illustrations and a table (with comments).

During the course of the semester, the students will be introduced to a modelling and calculation tools which then will be investigated further in a parallel workshops. The students will be introduced to a modelling task which they have to apply to their design project in AAR4546. The students will have a week to complete each task.

Compulsory assignments

  • Architectural design project

Further on evaluation

The right to complain applies only for the overall grade for design project and report. For postponed evaluations based on project assignments a new or revised assignment in the course must be delivered within the deadline set by the course instructor.

Specific conditions

Limited admission to classes.

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Architecture (MAAR)
Architecture (MAAR2)
Sustainable Architecture (MSSUSARC)

Required previous knowledge

Students taking this ZEB design course AAR4546, also need to take the ZEB theory course AAR4817 Emissions as Design Drivers. These courses are now part of the second semester of the MSc in Sustainable Architecture.

Course materials

Case studies; research articles and other literature; lecture notes; modelling (digital + analogue)


Detailed timetable


Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Statuskode Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Room *
Spring ORD Assignment 100/100
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date.
If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.