As the effects of the climate emergy intensify, design professionals need to think and work differently, operating at multiple scales, with multiple disciplines.
Environmental building design is a process of discovery, of deciding what to work on, before it ever becomes a matter of design. Diagramming energy and resource flows and understanding the ecological theories of self-organization, maximum power, and energy exchange hierarchies provide a scientific basis for the different kinds and scales of design practice involved. The challenge is to simultaneously operate at scales greater and smaller than buildings, from the chemistry of materials to local, regional, and global ecosystems.
Advanced simulation tools are used to test alternative design proposals, with parametric exploration deployed to refine and optimize their performance. The coursework in building science, performance simulation, and theories of environmental design are synthesized in an intensive design studios, which are taught collaboratively by faculty experienced in design, simulation, and building systems. EBD students are challenged to formulate the basis for the studio projects.