ADAPTING LEED CRITERIA INTO ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN TO PROVIDE A PERSPECTIVE FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN AN UNDERGRADUATE DESIGN STUDIO COURSE: A CASE STUDY
Sustainability and energy efficiency are important notions in contemporary architecture. The necessity about creating more nature- and environment-friendly places is directing architects to search for better solutions or technologies. Many different approaches and systems are being developed to provide energy efficiency in buildings and the outstretch of those approaches are becoming global with multidisciplinary and international cooperation. The mostly referred sustainability approaches are defined and systematized by the green building certification systems executed in national and international level by different institutions. Among them, USGBC’s LEED can be described as the most popular certification system as it is the most widely used one throughout the world. LEED’s sustainability strategies about reducing the greenhouse gas emission, wastewater management, passive ventilation and heating, alternative energy production and recycled material use are applicable on any architectural design and in any place of the world. Thus it creates a global guideline for architects about sustainability or energy efficiency.
Architecture education, as the foundation of the practice, needs to be in connection with the actual world of architecture to be able to provide the future architects with appropriate and sufficient knowledge. Appearently sustainability and energy efficiency issues need to be emphasized in every level of architecture education as they are key factors in contemporary architecture. The initial information and awareness about the necessity of sustainability in architecture needs to be given with theoretical courses; the information about building technologies or systems which provide energy efficiency can be introduced through architectural engineering courses, and the reflections of sustainability on the city can be examined in the urban studies. But the place where all the gathered information comes together and creates a conceptual product is the design studio which is the core of architectural education.
The selected subject of the case study in this paper is an architectural design studio for 3rd year students where the students are encouraged to create their unique energy efficiency strategies with the assistance of the conceptual framework provided by the LEED green building criteria. The main assumptions studied in this paper are that sustainability and energy efficiency in design are indispensable and important elements in the flow of an architectural design studio, and that it is an effective way to use the LEED criteria as a guideline for the development of sustainability strategies in a student project. Throughout the paper, example products of the student work from different stages of the studio are examined and as conclusion the effects of this method on the students’ vision of sustainability in architecture are discussed to create an alternative and -if possible- better design studio course.