Zero Impact Building (ZIB)
While signiﬁcant effort has been devoted to increasing the energy eﬃciency of buildings in operation (i.e., reducing energy consumed by heating, lighting, ventilation, and appliances), the focus has not been extended to reducing embodied energy and induced energy in the building sector. Embodied energy can be considered as the energy consumed during the extraction of raw materials, manufacture of products and components, and construction, repair and demolition of a building. Induced energy is the energy consumed because of the existence of the building, such as transportation energy consumed by building occupants. The research community generally agrees that, as the operating energy efficiency increases with improved technology, energy used in and emissions caused by other stages of a building’s life will become more and more important. And an operating energy-efficient building design does not necessarily coincide with more economical or more environmentally friendly designs. My research advances the existing net zero energy research by expanding the spatial and temporary frames within which we analyze the building energy consumption and impact. How does embodied energy contribute to the whole life cycle energy consumption? What is the critical factor deterring the success of net zero energy retrofit projects? How does energy efficient technology cause unintended negative environmental impact and human health impact? What are available design and construction techniques that could balance the energy saving and environmental impact reduction.
Life Cycle Assessment Research (LCA)
The realization and implementation of NZB are closely related to the life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA provides a tool for assessing the environmental impact and life cycle performance of a building. In a climate of growing resource constraints—coupled with an increasing complexity of buildings, divergent expectations, and promising advanced technologies—life cycle considerations are more important now than ever. Nonetheless, this potentially powerful tool has been underutilized in the building and construction industry. My work reflects an effort to make conventional LCA more applicable to design, which typically involves complex and uncertain human factors. My research into DLCA expands beyond the conventional LCA consideration of costs to recognize other life cycle attributes, such as energy consumption, the environmental impact, and human factors.
Smart Technology and Healthy Build Environmental (STHE)
STHB studies how smart building systems, materials, and technologies have an impact on human and environmental health in the built environment. While the impact of buildings on the environment is already an established research field, my research provides a unique focus of the connection between smart technologies and health. Smart building technology can take a leading role in the transformation of the public health market by turning buildings into responsive, user-focused, health-conscious, and interconnected systems.. As the co-editor, I have assembled a special issue, titled “Sustainable, Healthy Buildings,” that is published in Building and Environment. I am also work with colleague from School of public health as co-editor for another special issue, “Urban Environment and Health,” which is published by Frontiers in Built Environment.
Advanced technologies in building design and construction (ATBC)
My last area of research is informed by more than a decade of knowledge and experience I gained from the field as a practitioner scholar. It is centered on the advanced technologies in building design and construction, both digital and statistical. Technologies are key contributors to the design and construction industry that are increasing complex and data-driven. Besides being used as communication and presentation tools, digital technologies can be used as tools or platforms for design evaluation, building performance simulation, data management, and education. Two primary digital technological platforms I draw my practice strength on are Building Information Modeling (BIM) and virtual reality (VR).