BE MUSES: Towards Self-Sustaining High-Rise Buildings: Framework for an Analysis of Materials, Energy, Economic and Social Issues

Project Details


This BE:MUSES planning grant will support activities directed at advancing research on green or sustainable construction. Sustainable building practices are intended to reduce resource consumption, energy consumption, life-cycle costs and production of pollutants and wastes, while improving human productivity. Ideally, self-sustaining buildings produce their own energy and engender safe, regenerative, closed-loop construction and operational materials flow. The primary objective of this planning project is to develop a preliminary framework for the analysis of a large, self-sustaining, high-rise building with a focus on the building's utilities.

This project will achieve its objectives by assembling an experienced, interdisciplinary team around the core team of a civil engineer, an urban planner and an architect, conducting a trade-off analysis with focus on the utility infrastructure for a speculative, self-sustaining, high-rise building, conducting a small, interdisciplinary workshop to review the trade-off analysis and discuss the inclusion of economic and policy aspects, and submitting a full proposal. Findings will be disseminated to practitioners via a web site and presentations and used as case studies in urban planning and waste management classes.

Building design choices have important environmental impacts and also dramatically affect users' quality of life. This project will establish an analytical framework for assessing how self-sustaining, high-rise buildings that can generate much of their own electricity and recycle much of their own water can contribute to reduced material and energy use. The project will develop methods to assess under what circumstances there would be sufficient return to justify such investments in self-sufficiency. This project will improve the intellectual basis for building design and for public policymaking that influences self-sustaining building practices.

This planning award will be co-managed and co-funded by CMS and SBE.

Effective start/end date9/1/048/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $114,964.00


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