Cooper Union Green Building Design


Green Retrofit:  The Fundamentals of Gut Renovation.


Course Review and Revelations 

Each session was endlessly informative.  No filler sessions, no filler time.  It's pretty impressive organizing 14 two hour courses with no fluff.


Quite a few of us thought this would be tailored to "re hab" work which in NYC often means townhouses, offices and apartments, and while the course was structured around larger projects, the instructor and his guest lecturers were able to shift gears on the fly and shoe horn both the planned programs AND applying the same stratagies to smaller projects.


The truth is there is a good reason to concentrate on larger projects.


LEED, in it's current form, demands such extensive rebuilding to qualify for the more popular certifications that small projects are excluded.  This isn't without merit as it turns out. 


As we learned, before applying Green Design Principals to refitting a builidng, you first need to determine if the building has another 50, or 100 years in it, especially it's structure.  It is also fairly difficult to satisfy a client who wants a Green Building designed for them, without replacing many major building systems.  Well beyond the scope of typical home, office, or apartment rehabilitations.


Course Description

Any approach to sustainable development in New york city and most American cities must assume that the vast majority of he existing building stock will not be rapidly replaced.  Financial and environmental efficiencies will ahve to come from retrofitting the residential, commerical, and institutional structures already in place.  This course surveys the fundamental concepts that make renovation the cornerstone of green building in New York City and elsewhere.  Topics to be covered include:  suitability for retrofit, the design process, holistic design, and life-cycle environmental impact assessment.  The course also examines space planning and programming, mechanical systems, building envelope, electrical and plumbing systems, interior and landscape architecutre, building commissiiong, and LEED documentation. 

Course Sessions:  Descriptions 

Energy Modeling:

Still 20 years before it's time.  Why do I say that.  Consider how long computers have been used for IN DEPTH, member by member, bolt by bolt structural anylasis vs. how long we've even been concerned about total energy use in buildings.  Why else do I say energy modeling is still in it's development?  Verification.  Structural engineers KNOW what variance to expect between their models and reality (due to material and workmanship), that factor is applied in the calculations, and they are POSITIVE the result will work.  This is due to the experiences with materials for a hundred years for steel and concrete, and hundreds of years with wood and brick.  We are only NOW beginning to gather the mass of operational data on building energy use.  We have not yet begun to make this information available outside the limits of individual studies.  LEED is making reporting operational or verification of modeling from actual energy use a requirement for certification (but not publishing it, not identifying projects, models and variance between).  New York City, through the DOB is the only governmental agency which is requiring systematic reporting of building energy use AND will make the information available, identifying buildings, energy data both modeled and actual.  Until such information is available over decades of operation, and tens of thousands of builidng, the models will be unable to acurately reflect building energy use.


Life Cycle Costing:

Big issue:  Hint, it's not years to payback that justifies energy conservation techniques, photovoltaic, or other alternative energy techniques embodied in Green Building Design.


Landscape Architecture: 

Which ironically perhaps has it's own Green Design Principals.



Trends and tricks of the trade.  Yes, you can talor your project to ensure certification.

With more to follow as I have time to post them..............

Cooper Union Green Building Design

Certificate Program


Course Descriptions and Reviews


1 - NYC Energy Code - 2 Days Intensive and Comprehensive

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2 - Solar Energy Design and Construction for Residential and Commercial Projects

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3 - Solar Energy Policy

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4 - Daylighting Design

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5 - Sustainable Design Principles:

An Engineering Perspective

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6 - Green Retrofit:

The Fundamentals of Gut Renovation

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Country House 

Eco - Architecture Test Bed

Location: NYS
Catskill Mountains
Upstate New York

Micro Climate: Extreme

-7000 Heating DD
-limited sun 
-deep in narrow valley.


Energy Conservation
Low Temperature Solar Thermal


Energy Update:

30% Reduction 

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General Portfolio


Slide Shows


Evolution DD-CD

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Sketches - Details

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Project List

1 - NYC Townhouse 

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2 - Alumni Facility

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3 - PA Offices

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4 - NYC SCA Elementrary

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5 - NYC SCA High School

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6 - Scenic Overlook

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