News

Malkawi featured in The Guardian: “How malls and cities are becoming indistinguishable”

Featured in an article in The Guardian, CGBC Director Ali Malkawi explains how the wasteful energy consumption of malls and big box stores can be traced to the 1950’s when reducing fossil fuels was not a priority. In addition, he stressed that outdoor “retail villages” typically have smaller ecological footprints, as their thin structures allow for natural ventilation and daylighting. Read the entire article here.

CGBC’s Ali Malkawi to Present at “Building Tomorrow”: Harvard Arab World Weekend

On Saturday, March 11, the Harvard Arab Alumni Association will host the Harvard Arab World Weekend 2017 Conference in Jordan to highlight the theme of “Building Tomorrow,” which will explore initiatives across the region that are currently (re)shaping the face of the Arab world. The HAWC proposes several panels that bring together multi-disciplinary leaders to discuss the region’s tomorrow for future generations in healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, policy, and law. CGBC Founding Director Ali Malkawi will speak as apart of the “Entrepreneurship Panel & Startup Pitch” panel. His presentation is entitled “The Future of Buildings: the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities”.

Read more here.

HUCE Launches “Harvard Speaks On Climate Change”

Late last year, the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) launched a new online video initiative, Harvard Speaks on Climate Change, to share expertise of Harvard faculty across many disciplines who contribute to solutions through teaching, research, and leadership. In the videos, faculty from across our campus discuss the many dimensions of the climate challenge: from law, business, and public policy, to public health, design, the sciences and engineering, and the humanities. Each video leads to an individual faculty page with more resources for those who want to dig deeper. CGBC Founding Director Ali Malkawi participated in the initiative and his video segment discusses computational design decision support as it relates to the energy efficiency of buildings. Learn more and watch the video here.

Princess Sumaya bint Hassan of Jordan visits the CGBC

On Wednesday, February 17, Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint Hassan of Jordan was welcomed by CGBC Founding Director Ali Malkawi at the Marshal’s Office during her visit to the Center for Green Buildings and Cities at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Professor Ali Malkawi accompanied her, along with three aides during her trip. Her visit also included stops at Widener Library and the Harvard Art Museums. See more here.

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.