How can a building minimize carbon emissions over a 30-yr horizon, including both the upfront carbon of new building materials and carbon emissions from building operation? This essay presents a methodology and research outline.
If sustainability is systemic, how can architecture contribute toward system change? This talk considers five broad propositions. A guest lecture at Miami University, November 2018.
Energy Use Intensity (EUI) has become the de facto standard for measuring building performance. But there are several advantages to Operative Temperature. (Published at sefaira.com)
For those new to energy modeling, here's a simple six-step process for utilizing building performance analysis to design passive, low-energy buildings. (Published at sefaira.com)
From simple box models to design option comparisons, here are four studies that can help measurably improve a design's performance. (Published at sefaira.com)
The most important design decisions are made when architects have the least time to vet them or engage the broader team. This workflow aims to break down barriers to good early collaboration. (Published at sefaira.com)
A slideshow describing cost-saving strategies used in the design and construction of the Iowa Nest Residence. Originally presented to the Iowa Building Enclosures Council. (Published at slideshare.net)
Trump’s election couldn’t have come at a worse time for the climate: carbon emissions must peak by 2020 to avoid catastrophic climate change. Here are six ways we can move forward with large-scale climate solutions.
How to perform early-stage sensitivity analysis — for example, to test the relative impact of passive design strategies. (Published at www.iowanest.com)
A webinar outlining the approach and specific analysis techniques used to achieve Net Zero Energy on the Iowa Nest Residence. (On Vimeo.)
As more architects incorporate performance analysis into their design process, it's important to understand why most models are wrong — and why they're still essential. (Published at sefaira.com)
A new generation of analysis tools, which are emerging alongside a new generation of daylighting metrics, enable architects to look at daylight in new ways — with important implications for design. Published in ArchDaily, May 14, 2015.
Is ambitious performance compatible with design? Will performance compromise design, or can it contribute positively? A manifesto for a unified architecture. Published in AECbytes, August 5, 2014.
There are two reasons why sustainable design is central to the architect's practice and education: an ethical and a practical reason. (An open letter to the NAAB.)
The traditional energy modeling paradigm is fundamentally misaligned with the design process. Here's a new way of thinking about performance that can actually inform design. (Published at sefaira.com.)
Three practices borrowed from the tech startup world that can help architecture firms experiment, learn, and adapt. (Published at sefaira.com.)
There is a quiet revolution underway in the US: energy codes are being adopted rapidly throughout the country, and the standards on which they are based are becoming increasingly stringent. (Published at sefaira.com.)
2001 - 2014
An evolving credo for a humane, ecological, and socially engaged architecture.
California’s Title 24 requires all residential buildings to be Zero Net Energy by 2020, and all commercial buildings by 2030. Here are five ways this requirement will shift the industry. (Published at sefaira.com.)
What if high performance can be delivered with no cost increase, or with attractive returns? Here are three buildings that prove this is possible. (Published at sefaira.com.)
Most energy modeling is comparative, not predictive. But when it needs to be predictive, TM54 provides relevant guidance. (Published at sefaira.com.)
This report details the results of a survey that investigates the use of green building performance analysis tools and other software among U.S. architects.
This essay links current work in complex adaptive systems theory and network theory to urban planning and design via three case studies. Published in New Directions in Sustainable Design (Routledge, 2011).
This manual Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a brick bearing wall tracks a series of economic, environmental, and ethical metrics from extraction of raw materials through the end of their useful life.
This paper, co-authored with Lyle Solla-Yates, considers how historic investments in infrastructure have shaped the city, and investigates the potentially transformative effects of anaerobic biodigesters on urban metabolism and city form.
A brief summary of how scientific thought informed waste management approaches from the nineteenth century to present day.
Briefly describes the link between the spatial organization of large-scale systems, resilience, and control.
New sustainable waste management technologies are poised to revive the medieval model of containment and reuse of waste, as opposed to the modern model of dilution and evacuation. Published in the Journal of Green Building.
This Master of Architecture thesis brings together the work of critical theorist Jürgen Habermas, physicist Amory Lovins, economist Herman Daly, and anthropologist Vernon Scarborough, in order to understand the social, political, economic, and technical conditions necessary to create a truly sustainable society.
Precedents in Zero-Energy Design: Architecture and Passive Design in the 2007 Solar Decathlon, by Michael Zaretsky (Routledge, 2008), was the end product of a graduate seminar of which I was a part. My assessments of the Maryland and Texas A&M houses are included.
A short discussion of some relationships between world cities, capitalism, diversity, and inequality. Published in Calx, a student-run journal of design.
An analysis of two forms of residential development through the lens of Jürgen Habermas's understanding of Modernity and its alternatives. A preliminary effort to apply Habermas’s critical theory to the built environment.
Traces the lineage of "miasmic theory" from Hippocrates and Galen to 1850s Europe. Written in the capacity of a graduate research assistant to assistant professor Rebecca Williamson.
An excerpt from a conversation between Carl Sterner and Daniel Ebert. Published in Calx, a student-run journal of design.
This report examines how sustainable design strategies can be used to meet the unique needs of low-income populations.
An investigation of architecture and meaning via a comparative study of two funeral chapels.
Short story. Follows a narrator with a new degree and an uncertain future who meets a girl while passing through Milan. Published in Short Vine, the University of Cincinnati's undergraduate literary journal.
A response to Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire. Argues that the underlying theme of the book is a deconstruction of the Western man/nature dichotomy.
Poetry generated through semi-random processes, loosely inspired by dada, surrealism, and the musical work of John Cage.
An essay on the Western man/nature dichotomy, its origins, its undoing, and alternative ways of conceptualizing the world. Inspired in part by Bill McKibben's The End of Nature.
Short story. Peter Ash is beginning to cope with the death of his mother and a forced transfer to a boarding school for "high risk" boys when a brilliant and dangerous new student turns his world upside down.
Carl is a designer, author, and (sometimes) composer. His research, writing, and design focus on the interrelated technical and social underpinnings of an ecologically viable (and ultimately more livable, joyous, and humane) society. Read more >
Copyright by Carl S. Sterner, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted. More ...