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Understanding the role of university passive architectural design as a strategy for energy reduction and anthropogenic climate change mitigation

Mann, Jacob Joseph (2022) Understanding the role of university passive architectural design as a strategy for energy reduction and anthropogenic climate change mitigation. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Abstract

The growing threat of anthropogenic climate change brings with it questions of mitigation strategies. This thesis looks at passive architectural design strategies deployed in the built environment, utilizing a case study approach, focused on NAU’s International Pavilion, to understand how this form of design performs in practice on a university campus in relation to energy usage intensity and the ideals of Anthropocene Architecture. Current research literature shows that passive-focused retrofits and commitments to carbon neutrality occur with campus-wide official commitments to climate action plans (Del Borghi et al., 2021, p. 11, Erhart et al., 2016, p. 1, Celniker et al., 2021, p. 2; see also Carbon Neutrality Initiative, 2021). The literature also shows that education and occupant behavior play a major role in energy usage (Petersen et al. 2007 referencing, Janda et al. 2002, and Schipper 1989). Finally, current research sheds light on the ability for institutional buildings in climates similar to Flagstaff, AZ, to operate at near net-zero energy levels (Hill, Less Than Zero). With NAU yet to officially adopt an updated climate action plan, although one is in the works, it is an important time to study passive design focused buildings at NAU to understand their efficacy and potential to be precedent setting for future building and retrofits. In this thesis, I used qualitative and quantitative data from an oral history contextual survey, follow-up oral history interviews, and an energy usage database - ECAP, to construct and oral history and uncover common themes regarding the International Pavilion and how passive design works in practice at NAU. The data shows that the International Pavilion, a building with passive-focused features, is outperforming other buildings of similar types and sizes that don’t include a passive focus in terms of Energy Usage Intensity. Despite this, there are some issues keeping the building from reaching its full energy potential. From the n and follow-up interviews, my participants shared that the main issues are related to education, training, and a lack of guidance. The adoption of an official climate action plan focused on rectifying these issues could propel the university toward a campus-wide reduction in EUI and a change in building culture toward the ideals of Anthropocene Architecture.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Built Environment; Climate Action Planning; Energy Use Intensity; Passive Architectural Design; University Energy Use; Northern Arizona University; Flagstaff, Arizona
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Sustainable Communities
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2023 21:38
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2023 21:38
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/6004

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