Harvard CGBC receives Microsoft Azure Research Award

On Monday, January 23rd, 2017, Microsoft announced that it awarded Harvard CGBC an Azure Research Award, which gives the center sponsored access to Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform and infrastructure. It is used to build, deploy and manage applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers, and the award offers free access to cloud computing resources for projects across the world. CGBC researchers will use the award to support a computational research and development agenda.  Specifically, the center will employ the platform for a range of the following research projects: using sensors, machine learning algorithms and prototypes to assess energy optimization of buildings; investigating intuitive and efficient smart building data visualization, monitoring and analyzing interior air quality; monitoring and analyzing building surfaces; documenting and annotating periodic building performance and personal status; and, assessing virtual environments and interfaces.

Microsoft started the Azure4Research program in 2013. It offers cloud computing resource grants to researchers and scientists who continue to explore emerging challenges, basic research, and new applications related to the ubiquitous devices and networking that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT). Other awardees include innovative leaders in areas such as climate research, industrial automation, electrical engineering, and green building technologies.

Find out more about the award here.

Salmaan Craig to discuss thermoregulation of buildings at Le Lab ArtScience Talks

On Wednesday, January 11, Le Laboratoire Cambridge will host CGBC Research Associate Salmaan Craig, lecturer in materials science and energy at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, who will lead a talk on entitled “The Thermal Resonance of Massive Buildings.” Craig, a designer who specializes in materials design and building physics, conducts research on new types of ‘architecture-d materials’ for the thermoregulation of future buildings. This lecture is part of  the ArtsScience series, where architects, biologists, engineers, musicians and others talk about “creativity and culture at the edges of art, science and design.”

Read more here.


CGBC launches online forecasting tool to analyze building energy consumption

CGBC researchers have launched a new web app that uses statistical modeling and historical data to help predict building energy consumption. The Gaussian Processes Forecasting Tool allows users to upload data, configure features, train/validate a model and make predictions. For a deeper analysis, the app helps more advanced users to explore the impact of certain inputs on output.

Intended to help designers and planners forecast energy consumption of buildings, the app can use inputted data to produce a simulated total energy graph regression throughout the year to see which features have the highest impact. The data can also be configured for different metrics and accuracy, allowing users to explore patterns of energy consumption.

Building energy simulations often have to deal with uncertainty from input parameters, such as the number of occupants, schedule of occupants and occupant habits, as well as simplifications in modeling, whether physics-based or data-driven. Creating more accurate models can be difficult because no single tool can simulate the whole process and it might require more parameters and hence have more parametric uncertainty. With their new app, CGBC researchers have created a more accurate system by analyzing historical data to create a baseline to predict uncertainty in modeling of building data.

Existing tools normalize energy consumption by weather using simple regression methods, while the center utilizes machine learning with the Gaussian process which requires fewer training data points and higher prediction accuracy compared to other machine learning techniques. Additionally, it can evaluate the impact of system control parameters on energy consumption for potential optimization. While it was designed for use with a time-series plot, the app is flexible and can be used to analyze a range of data, such as stock market analysis, power generation and even health changes.

Try out the tool here.

Harvard GSD: Richard Rogers delivers second annual Harvard CGBC Lecture

The Harvard Graduate School of Design published an account of the CGBC Annual Lecture featuring Richard Rogers on October 18, 2016, an event that continues the Center’s annual tradition of honoring a key leader within the green design and planning movement. Rogers focused his talk on approaching sustainability through the relationships and interactions between buildings and inhabitants.

Read the article here.

Harvard Crimson: Architect Richard Rogers Lectures at the GSD

The Harvard Crimson gives an account of the CGBC Annual Lecture featuring Richard Rogers on October 18, 2016, an event that continues the Center’s annual lecture series which convenes leaders from industry and academia to discuss pressing questions for the fields of sustainability and design. In this talk, Rogers drew upon his life experiences, his varied projects and ideas about the impact of architecture on the environment.

Read the article here.

CGBC researchers publish article on natural ventilation design simulations, influence region

CGBC researchers’ recent article about the Influence Region in simulations for natural ventilation design was accepted and published in a new edition of Applied Energy, a journal that offers “information on innovation, research, development and demonstration in the areas of energy conversion and conservation, the optimal use of energy resources, analysis and optimization of energy processes, mitigation of environmental pollutants, and sustainable energy systems.” Zheming Tong, Yujiao Chen and Ali Malkawi investigated the accuracy of natural ventilation analyses relying on how the CFD domain and Influence Region is chosen. This study demonstrates the importance of assessing the sensitivity of the selected Influence Region in CFD simulations to reduce unintended modeling errors and computing expense.

Read the article here.

CGBC researchers publish article about natural ventilation potential, air pollution

CGBC researchers’ recent article entitled Energy saving potential of natural ventilation in China: The impact of ambient air pollution was accepted and will be published in a new edition of Applied Energy, a journal that “provides a forum for information on innovation, research, development and demonstration in the areas of energy conversion and conservation, the optimal use of energy resources, analysis and optimization of energy processes, mitigation of environmental pollutants, and sustainable energy systems.” Zheming Tong, Yujiao Chen, Ali Malkawi and Richard B. Freeman, along with co-author Zhu Liu investigated the impact of air pollution on the indoor air quality of a naturally ventilated building in a quantifiable manner.

Read the article here. Infographic with data available here.

Richard Rogers to deliver CGBC’s Annual Lecture 2016

On Tuesday, October 18, world-renowned architect Richard Rogers will deliver the 2016 CGBC Annual Lecture at the Graduate School of Design. Situated within the Harvard GSD Lecture Series, the lecture intends to expose a large audience of students, faculty and members of the public to the importance of green design and planning by highlighting the work of key leaders within this movement. Richard Rogers is a founding partner of Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and a Pritzker Prize Laureate. Over a career spanning more than fifty years, he and his partners have advised national & city leaders and designed many buildings including Centre Pompidou, Lloyd’s of London, the Bordeaux Law Courts, the Welsh Assembly, the Millennium Dome, the Leadenhall Building, and new terminals at Madrid Barajas and London Heathrow airports.  The CGBC Annual Lecture was inaugurated last fall by Norman Foster.

Read more here.

LG Hausys and CGBC Research Teams participate in Smart House Workshop

On April 21, 2016, members from the CGBC Research Team and the LG Hausys Research & Development Team participated in a Smart House Workshop at the CGBC headquarters in Cambridge, MA. The teams engaged in a collaborative information exchange—discussing and presenting on a variety of topics involving smart house technology including sensors technology, control systems, smart interfaces and display systems.


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Sustainability in Scandinavia reprise to take place at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design

On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, academicians and practitioners featured at CGBC’s 2015 Fall Conference: Sustainability in Scandinavia will meet in Oslo to work on a joint publication and present a selection of new case-studies at the Oslo School of Architecture of Design. The public program will take place from 9:00-11:00am in the Sverre Fehn Auditorium (Maridalsveien 29, 0175 Oslo). Featured presentations include:

An introduction from Ali Malkawi, Founding Director, Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities

Tine Hegli, Snøhetta
The Nydalen Torg Project: Aiming for natural climatization of large buildings.

Cathrine Vigander, Element Architects
The Green House: Urban integration, “green” facades, and green roof.

Sara Grahn, White Architects
Katsan [White´s office building]: Integrated design for sustainability and adaptability.

Thomas Nørgaard, Christensen & Co Architects
DTU COMPUTE: A low energy campus center combining density and transparency.

Stig Mikkelsen, Mikkelsen Architects
Damesalen at the University of Copenhagen: Increasing the performance while reducing the thickness of of the building envelope.

Søren Nielsen, Vandkunsten Architects
The Almen + Model: Prefabricated social housing redefined.

Peter Andreas Sattrup, Ph.D, Senior Advisor in Sustainability
The Radiohuset Building: Scandinavian modernism proven to be sustainable.

More information here. View the event poster here. View photos from the event here.


The 2015 CGBC Fall Conference: Sustainability in Scandinavia highlighted green buildings and communities across Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and unraveled a unique regional practice that integrates technology, culture, and design. Through the presentation of case studies and proven concepts, leading academicians and practitioners from the region discussed how they’ve pushed the limits of this approach to define and pioneer the cutting edge within an advanced regulatory framework. Read more and watch videos from the event here.