HouseZero Unveiled at Harvard

 John Hill
4. December 2018
Photo: Michael Grimm © Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities
The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) has announced the completion of HouseZero, the retrofitting of a pre-1940s building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, into its headquarters and "an ambitious living-laboratory and an energy-positive prototype for ultra-efficiency."
Part of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Harvard CGBC does what its name implies: it "aims to transform the building industry through a commitment to design-centric strategy that directly links research outcomes to the development of new processes, systems, and products." Its new headquarters, designed by Snøhetta with engineering by Skanska Teknikk Norway, becomes both a prototype and research lab for the CGBC's ambitions.

​The design's "radically ambitious performance targets," as spelled out in a press release, are just that:
  • Nearly zero energy for heating and cooling,
  • Zero electric lighting during the day,
  • Operating with 100 percent natural ventilation,
  • Producing zero carbon emissions.
Ultimately, the building has been designed and engineered to produce more energy over its lifetime than for its renovation and subsequent operation — in turn expressing the potential in retrofitting old buildings.
"As a prototype, HouseZero works to address one of the biggest energy problems in the world today—inefficient existing buildings." (Photo: Michael Grimm © Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities)
"The CGBC will use millions of data points from hundreds of sensors embedded within each component of HouseZero to continually monitor its performance." (Photo: Michael Grimm © Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities)

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