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Energy performance analysis in interdisciplinary education – Lessons learned from a simulation-based teaching approach

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author NaultEmilie, AguacilSergi, ReyEmmanuel, AndersenMarilyne,
Project ACTIVE INTERFACES - Holistic strategy for BIPV adapted solutions in urban renewal design processes
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings Proceedings of PLEA 2017 Edinburgh - Design to Thrive, Edinburgh, UK, July 3-5, 2017
Place Edinburgh


The education of building practitioners is challenged by the increasing need for interdisciplinary profiles in the professional practice. To progress toward the goal of a sustainable built environment, a common language must be shared among fields such as architecture and engineering, between which persisting barriers remain. This paper presents an interdisciplinary teaching approach that aimed at getting architecture and engineering students to develop – around a unique case study evolving in parallel to the course – an understanding of the relationships between architectural and constructive aspects, simulation parameters, and energy and thermal comfort performance. Lessons learned from this experience include: the (in)adequacy of using an advanced software (EnergyPlus) imposing a steep initial learning curve, the limitations of working on a case study whose scope extends beyond the context of the class, and the conflict between achieving pedagogical objectives and valuing ‘real-time consultancy’ work in an evolving project. These challenges however seem to have been key to enable students to develop a solid knowledge of the concepts and technical language, as well as strong simulation competences, pushing them to embrace the added value of interdisciplinarity possibly more effectively than if a theoretical exercise had been used. Keywords: interdisciplinary education, simulation-based exercises, energy performance