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Streamlined passive houses & zero-energy buildings modeling for early design decision making




3: Materials Science and Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Randolph Kirchain

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Jasmina Burek: jburek@mit.edu

Project Description

Passive house (PH) and zero-energy building (ZEB) standards aim to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprints of buildings. The PH concept implies a low energy consumption achieved through passive technology such as insulation and energy-efficient HVAC systems. A ZEB is an energy-efficient building that generates enough renewable energy to offset or even exceed the energy it consumes from the grid. Previous research has shown higher embodied energy and costs for PH and ZEB compared to conventional buildings. To date, very few projects have shown that a PH could be done within a budget comparable to similar standard homes, which calls into question the economic viability of PH. Intendent Learning Outcomes: - Generate a moderately complex life cycle assessment under supervision for decision support or policy making - Hands-on experience using and adapting a probabilistic building life cycle assessment (LCA) tool called the Building Attribute to Impact Algorithm (BAIA), which predicts embodied (materials and construction) and operational energy-related life cycle impacts based on building geometry, assemblies, system attributes, regional U.S. electricity production, and climate zones. - To become reflective users of a variety of tools and data resources relevant to the field, which will help them prepare them beyond this opportunity for the Life Cycle Assessment Certified Professional (LCACP) exam. - Present research at a conference


Interest in building sustainability Experience in Matlab coding