Bernett and Dogan Receive Grant for Sustainable Design Simulation Framework

grid of related diagrams in a computer interface

Allison Bernett (M.Arch. '20) and Environmental Systems Lab Director Timur Dogan secured funding from the Atkinson Center for their simulation framework that uses data to demonstrate the environmental impact of architectural design decisions. image / Allison Bernett (M.Arch. '20)

News
May 24, 2019

Master of architecture student Allison Bernett (M.Arch. '20) and assistant professor of architecture Timur Dogan are the recipients of a grant from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future for their research on data-driven building simulation software for architects. One of several projects that fall within the purview of AAP's Environmental Systems Lab directed by Dogan, Bernett's research is distinct in that it focuses on the early stages of design decision making that have a profound impact on a building's overall cost criteria, energy consumption, and carbon footprint.

"This grant was awarded to proposals that address the climate crisis, and it is exciting for us that the Atkinson Center recognized the need for a framework like this to help guide architects in the earliest stages of their design process," says Bernett. "Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of all energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions — therefore, reducing global building energy consumption and architecture's carbon footprint is imperative to a sustainable future."

Support from the Atkinson Center will assist Bernett and Dogan in developing an open source database for the data behind the tool, giving users free access and optimal flexibility. "There are plenty of simulation tools and frameworks out there," noted Bernett. "But many rely on fragmented and inaccessible data, which makes it hard for others to use them and verify their assumptions." The final product will be a tool for both professional architects and architecture students to help them understand the measures that influence the energy and carbon footprint of the buildings they design.

Bernett and Dogan have been working on the simulation framework since last summer and were notified of their selection for the $5,000 grant this spring. The project will be presented publicly for the first time at the International Building Performance Simulation Association's annual conference in Rome in September, beyond which Bernett and Dogan will develop a full-length journal article on their research.

By Edith Fikes