Center Press

Architect Magazine: Education and the Performance Imperative

In a recent interview with Architect Magazine, CGBC’s Ali Malkawi and Gordon Gill, founding partner at Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, discussed their CGBC-supported studio entitled “Zero Energy Residential High-Rise.” Taught in Spring 2017 at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the course’s integrated approach to design and data blended the expertise of Malkawi and Gill. The two spoke about the need for heightened climate awareness in architecture schools, and about how to prepare the next generation of practitioners to design for climate change. “This is a very critical moment,” says Malkawi, “where environmental considerations are becoming highlighted now more than ever. We have the capacity to [teach] this in a way that would allow a new generation to take those issues very seriously.” Read the entire interview here.


ArchitectureBoston: HouseZero

Carl Solander published a review of HouseZero in the Fall 2017 edition of Architecture Boston, a quarterly publication of the Boston Society of Architects. After touring the constructions site with CGBC Founding Director Ali Malkawi, he notes that he was “struck by the incongruence between the project’s lofty goals and the entirely ordinary appearance of the building during demolition.” He goes on to describe the project’s “laudable” performance goals and use of computational intelligence to intensify the impact of known heating and cooling strategies. “If successful,” he writes, “our understanding of the capacity of passive may well be transformed by this modestly scaled building and its active components. This is not a superinsulated sealed box, but a building that breathes with yogic discipline.” Read the entire piece online here.

Harvard Magazine: Harvard “HouseZero”

Harvard Magazine published a piece featuring the CGBC’s HouseZero project, a retrofitted building that aims to produce more energy than it consumes. As noted by the article, the project hopes to achieve multiple sustainability goals—including entirely natural lighting, ventilation, and zero emissions—and could provide a repeatable checklist for similar retrofits of small-scale, residential buildings throughout the United States. Professor Malkawi explains that the project aims to break new ground in sustainable construction: “people have done a building that is 100 percent [naturally] ventilated, or a building that is 100 percent naturally lit, or close to zero [energy consumption], or zero carbon,” he says. “To our knowledge, no one has reached all these goals at once in a retrofit.”  Read the article here.

NEREJ: Retrofitting existing buildings is new frontier of energy efficiency

The New England Real Estate Journal has published a new column by CGBC Director Ali Malkawi about the importance of energy efficiency in buildings and the Center’s HouseZero retrofit project. Recognizing building energy consumption as a major contributor to climate change, Malkawi intends for HouseZero to “demonstrate how to transform one of the most challenging building types – an existing home – into a prototype that will model ultra-efficiency for other property owners.” The project will change “the paradigm for ultra-efficiency from one focused on energy production to curbing energy demand,” and will offer data and insight into improving energy efficiency for existing building stock.

Read the column here.

Harvard Gazette Q&A: A house that produces energy

The Harvard Gazette has published a new interview with Founding Director Ali Malkawi about CGBC’s retrofit of HouseZero, which strives “to produce more energy than it consumes — with zero carbon emissions and using daylighting and natural ventilation instead of an HVAC system — while serving as a learning center for students and a testing ground for emerging technologies.” In this wide-ranging interview, Professor Malkawi discusses the project in detail, highlighting the role he hopes it will play in moving building design toward ultra-efficiency. Malkawi explains that the Center “wanted to push a standard that doesn’t exist that will push efficiency to its limit[,] we wanted to identify that standard, and show that it’s possible and performance-driven.”

Read the article here. GSD coverage here.

Architizer: Converting a Building Into an Energy-Efficient Predictive Piece of Architecture

Architizer profiles CGBC’s project “to convert its headquarters, a 1924 stick-built house in Cambridge, into HouseZero, a sustainable system that is expected to set a precedent for the future of green reconstruction around the world.” Professor Malkawi, founding director of the CGBC, explains that his goal is to “show how this can be replicated almost anywhere” to enhance existing building stock. The article discusses the building’s future ability, once fully retrofitted, to predict and adapt to changing weather patterns and generate new levels of proficiency using a combination of advanced sustainable technologies.

Read the article here.

Dezeen: HouseZero aims to “solve one of the world’s biggest energy problems”

Dezeen profiles CGBC’s HouseZero project “to retrofit an old house, demonstrating how existing buildings can be made more energy efficient to help address climate change.” The retrofit challenges the idea that you have to build new homes from scratch in order to implement energy-efficient design. Professor Malkawi, founding director of the CGBC, explains that his goal is to “show how this can be replicated almost anywhere” to enhance existing building stock.

Read the article here.

Architect’s Newspaper: Turning this old house at Harvard into ultra energy-efficient building

Architect’s Newspaper profiles CGBC’s HouseZero project “to transform its headquarters into a test site for technology that may make it easier to retrofit older homes.” Designed by Snøhetta, the HouseZero project revamps the CGBC’s 1924 stick-built house to run without an HVAC system, without daytime electric lighting, and produce zero carbon emissions, among other efficiencies.

Read the article here.

Curbed: Building a model for energy efficiency by renovating a decades–old home

Curbed profiles Harvard CGBC’s HouzeZero project “creating a new prototype of ultra-efficient building that requires almost zero energy, relies on natural daylighting, and produces no carbon emissions.” The website spotlights energy-saving designs, such as “the geothermal wells, which can draw up underground heat or help cool the building, and a concrete slab, which functions as a thermal mass, soaking up heat like a sponge during the winter.” Professor Ali Malkawi, CGBC Director, seeks to “collect so much information from the building itself, it’s going to be like a lab.”

Read more here.

Construction Drive: Harvard to give 1920s house a green overhaul

CGBC’s HouseZero project is featured in Construction Dive. The piece offers an overview of the retrofit’s energy-saving changes such as “eliminating the HVAC system for a thermal mass to absorb and store heat as well as a ground-source heat pump; an automated system will use algorithms to open and close windows” and “daylight-enhancing features to eliminate the need for electric lighting during the day,” which will result in a positive energy building. The author goes on to offer insight into the energy consumption of existing residential buildings nationwide.

Read the piece here.