AAR4817 - Emissions as Design Drivers - Theory


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Letters

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

Course content

There are many challenges facing the sustainable transformation of buildings with an ambition of achieving(net) zero emissions. The theory course (AAR4817) comprises of a series of specific theoretical lectures centred on sustainable transformation, cultural heritage and Life cycle analysis (LCA), as well as, invited guest speakers. The course is divided into three parts running through semester.
1. Introduction to ZEB scope of work, definitions + international case study examples
2. Lecture themes:
a. Sustainable Transformation + Urban Design Considerations
b. Sustainable Transformation + Cultural Heritage Considerations
c. Sustainable Transformation + Typography and Tectonics
d. Sustainable Transformation + Building Materials
e. Sustainable Transformation + Life Cycle Assessment
- Design drivers for reduced emissions + Case study examples
- LCA Theory
- lCA Calculation Methods
- Integrated Modelling (Revit/BIM + LCA)
3. Individual research topics: Individual report guidance
The course comprises of a series of lectures/workshops which focus on specific design issues relevant to achieving net Zero Emissions Buildings in the parallel AAR4546 ZEB design course. The students are introduced to various design topics in a 45 minute lecture followed by a short open platform for discussion. The theme of each lecture is planned to be directly relevant to their parallel design project in AAR4546. The main objective of the course is to "learn through doing" and the students are expected to apply what they learn in the lectures and workshops in holistic way in their design projects.
The main driver for this course is create a bridge between research and teaching and thus expose the students to cutting edge research at the ZEB and ZEN Centre and other disciplines at the Department such as urban planning, cultural heritage and materials research.
The first part of the course focuses on design at the level of building, site and neighbourhood. A case study lecture of a similar building context is normally presented by a guest speaker, in most cases a practicing architect. This affords the students the opportunity to ask the speaker about their practical experience (& challenges) with a project in a similar context. The second part focuses on specific design issues at building level.
The students will foster knowledge on how various design considerations can be used as forming parameter in the concept development of the student's project in AAR4546. The students are expected to integrate this environmental philosophy into their design without compromising the architectural quality.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: understand the importance of various design choices and their impact on the embodied emissions of their design. They will be taught specific assessment methods to assess and handle this challenge and the student will be able to:
- Understand how emissions act as a driver for design.
- Develop architectural concepts and strategies through sustainable transformation to achieve an energy positive, and potentially, net zero emission building in a refurbishment context.
- Create a net ZEB balance (CO2eq emission) between, the embodied emissions from materials and emissions from operation, with the ‘avoided’ emissions from renewable energy system i.e. PV production.
- Use of advanced software for emissions modeling (Simapro/Ecoinvent)with computer aided design (Rhino/BIM);
- 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 competence: understanding durability and life cycle of materials and their implication on the environmental impact of the built environment.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures, exercises and presentations; discussions

Compulsory assignments

  • Report

Further on evaluation

You can register for a re-scheduled examination in the next exam period

Specific conditions

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

Completed three years basic courses in architecture, engineering or urban planning; bachelor in architecture, engineering or urban planning; or equivalent.
Students taking the project course AAR4546 Design of Zero Emission Buildings also need to take this theory course. The theory course is part of the third semester of the MSc in Sustainable Architecture. It is open for students of all programmes, provided they have the recommended prior knowledge.

Course materials

Case studies; research articles and other literature; lecture notes; modelling tools

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2021

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Architecture
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Architecture and Technology



Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Status code Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Digital exam Room *
Spring ORD Assignment 100/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * 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.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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