The Lab

What does energy want from design?
What role does design have in energy systems?

As a part of the Research Advancement Initiative (RAI), at Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Energy, Environments & Design Lab investigates novel agendas for energy at a range of design scales. From overlooked thermal parameters at the molecular level to global scale emergy analysis, the design disciplines urgently need alternate intellectual frameworks, research methodologies, and practices for energy in the twenty-first century. Materials, buildings, landscapes, cities, and urbanization are all overtly connected energy hierarchies that must be lucidly understood as the basis of any design agenda for energy today.

There are few words today that can transform the purpose and activity of deign more than the observation that matter is but captured energy. From this perspective, design all scales yields but the hardened edge of vast energy systems. These formations of energy should be more clearly grasped and designed today. The relative exergy and emergy content of any energy flow is the intellectual and methodological basis of Maximum Power Designs, the focus of the lab’s work. Building science too frequently lacks a larger energy perspective on its strategies and thus inadequately frames key questions regarding energy. In turn, building science adds levels of precision to specific energy formations that inform emergy analysis.

To be certain buildings, landscapes, and cities are fundamentally not sustainable entities. Instead, they are inextricably bound to large scale material and energy systems. The aim of this design lab is to expand and deepen our understanding of energy in relation to buildings, environments and design. To best understand of design to energy and environments, the lab focuses on projects that range in type from historical, geographic, and ecological to the design, analysis, and fabrication of full-scale proto-types and designs. Neither over-determined by building science or ecosystem theory, this lab presumes that both are important and both are essential to design agendas for energy that fit the obligations and opportunities inherent in this century.

For more information or if you would like to engage the Lab in a research effort, please contact Kiel Moe kmoe@gsd.harvard.edu.

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