Student Learning Through Monitoring and Simulating Buildings’ Energy Use and Comfort
This paper shares the methods, selected projects, and reflections on the effectiveness of extracurricular student learning through monitoring and simulating buildings’ energy use and occupant thermal comfort. The following applied research features occur sporadically in architecture schools and it is notable to see a research laboratory consistently maintain them over many years. The atypical method uses a research lab to simultaneously combine: extracurricular in-depth, hands-on environmental systems education; community engagement on “real world” buildings; paid student research positions in multiple disciplines; gradual acquisition of an environmental systems tool kit; and sustained consistent funding from research grants. While the previous qualities exist in architectural education, studies show they are the exception and not the norm (Carraher et al., 2Q17). The University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture Environmental Research and Design Lab consistently goes beyond the typical professional architecture curriculum to deepen students’ knowledge in and affinity for designing and operating energy efficient, comfortable buildings. The pedagogical approach and hypothesis proposes that student researchers who work in these extracurricular research positions gain a deeper understanding of building physics and are enriched by interdisciplinary student interactions, which will positively benefit their future studies and careers in a way that is not possible through curricular work only. Finally, the evidence of the student learning and positive influence on students’ future careers are benchmarked against Bloom’s Taxonomy, a framework for categorizing educational objectives (Bloom, 1956).