Introduction  Team  House  Story  Sponsors  Webcam ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Special Problems in Civil Engineering

College & Department

A. James Clark School of Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Kaye Brubaker

Semesters Offered

Fall 2006
Spring 2007

Course Description

The course is an overview of solar energy, from an engineer’s (489A, B) and a consumer’s (489 F,G) perspective, with a specific focus on the systems design and marketing of a small sustainably crafted house—the UMD Solar Decathlon 2007 House. The course is taught in collaboration with ARCH 478X

Much of the students’ work are done as part of a small team, intensely focusing on a specific aspect of the design. As such, it will be critical to be always aware of how that part relates to the whole. Each moment of their research, exploration, analysis and synthesis is an opportunity to have design input.

In addition to working within a small team, students interact with architecture students. Professional mentors from a wide variety of disciplines will join class for critique sessions, workshops and progress reviews. In all, students can expect a rich experience in a truly interdisciplinary, integrated design team. There will be a great deal of back-and-forth in this necessarily iterative process of testing and refinement of ideas.

While a good bit of the work will have a tangible, even practical, goal, the work will be
underpinned by a solid foundation of engineering and economic principles. Comprehension of major themes, theories, and techniques in the development of building systems (energy supply and use, water supply and use, waste and life cycle analysis), their integration in building craft, and corresponding value systems will be developed through several means:

  • Studying physical principles of solar energy: nature, collection, storage;
  • Studying principles of building science and sustainable building principles;
  • Putting the above into action through the detailing of the UMD Solar Decathlon
    2007 Entry, LeafHouse, and its associated outreach, educational, and fundraising


  • explore definitions of technology
  • explore the tasks of building systems and architecture, and how they can be
    integrated in the design process
  • explore basic themes in the development of building technologies, building
    science, and sustainability, including embodied energy analysis of materials
  • (489A, B) demonstrate and apply knowledge by designing the systems for the UMD
    entry in the 2007 DOE/NREL Solar Decathlon: Photovoltaic (PV); energy storage;
    heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); mechanical systems; adaptive
    controls; water and wastewater; structure
  • (489F, G) demonstrate and apply knowledge in crafting the print and web
    documents, media campaigns, and outreach/education strategies for the UMD
    entry in the 2007 DOE/NREL Solar Decathlon




login . contact