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Research Highlights

ASME Special Issue on Buildings of the Future

Vision seeks to inform future research and strategic planning for built environment

February 2017
ASME Special Issue on Buildings of the Future
See our vision for future buildings play out on YouTube.

With a nod to outside-the-box thinking for productivity, human health, and efficiency, Volume 139, Issue 1 of ASME's Journal of Solar Energy Engineering featured research from the Department of Energy’s Buildings of the Future project.

As guest editors, PNNL project lead Nora Wang and co-lead Patrick Phelan of Arizona State University, (formerly with the DOE) describe the collective vision for buildings and their hope that the special issue will, "inspire more creative thinking and innovative ideas to inform future research, development, and strategic planning on the built environment."

They also note that multi-disciplinary collaboration is "essential for us to reach the long-term goal of revolutionizing the building environment to minimize environmental impacts while achieving healthy, adaptive, and productive buildings."

Papers in the special issue include:

  • A Perspective of Energy Codes and Regulations for the Buildings of the Future
  • Integrating Health Into Buildings of the Future
  • The Changing Socioeconomic Context of Buildings
  • Forecasting Building Energy Demands With a Coupled Weather-Building Energy Model in a Dense Urban Environment
  • Is Architectural Pedagogy Prepared for Buildings of the Future?
  • Thriving in a Net-Zero Office—Looking Beyond Energy to Create Quality in Human Work Spaces
  • Embedded Distribution Systems for Enhanced Energy Resilience
  • Energy Footprint of Urban Services Within Building Infrastructure
  • Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy—Enabling Innovative Solutions for Buildings of the Future

Vision Unveiled

The Buildings of the Future project kicked off in late 2014—with funding from DOE’s Building Technologies Office—and it concluded by capturing a framework for future buildings on an interactive website.

The site lays out the five focus points identified in the framework: Occupants, Building Systems, Utilities, Community, and Environment. Each focus point identifies 100-year targets and metrics and also explains the vision for that focus. For example, the Occupants focus describes a vision where "Portable or wearable devices integrate with central and local systems to personalize indoor environments, reducing the need for space heating and cooling while maintaining comfort and air quality."

For more information, visit

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