The level of man-made CO2 emissions worldwide climbed to a new record of 30 billion tons in 2010. In 2011, at the COP17 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, high-ranking representatives from around the world met again to discuss solutions. For the building sector, numerous energy-efficiency market changes and benchmarking resolutions, like the mandatory E.U. “nearly Net-Zero-Energy-Building (NET-ZEB's) 2018 and 2020 regulations” for all new public and privately owned buildings are now set up to help minimizing carbon emissions and reverse the negative impact.1 In the United States, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) adopted the 2030 Challenge as a voluntary program, where participating buildings aim to achieve a 90% fossil fuel reduction by 2025, and carbon-neutrality by 2030.2 To accomplish these energy goals, designers must strive to best design and utilize the resources available on a site. However, are these goals of achieving carbon-neutral buildings possible? How can NET-ZEB's become the curricular standard and practical routine in education and the profession? To date, the basic curricular design process components with integrated project delivery metrics for a robust 3-D/4-D-net-zero regulatory design framework are either incomplete or missing, However, formally-based curriculums have begun to weave carbon-neutral design tools into their pedagogy. This research paper critically compares how these new criteria for digital 3-D-building information modeling (BIM), and “Integrated Project Delivery” are mandating a better integration of collaborative carbon-neutral designs into the curriculum and practice of the profession.

The majority of those in architectural academia have been using generative computation primarily for pure, aesthetic form-finding, without applying zero-carbon-energy-driven global performance metrics and CO2e reduction strategies to reiterate derived carbon-neutral designs. The advantage of 3-D-parametric design is that it links variables, dimensions, and materials to geometry in a way that when an input or simulation value changes, the 3-D/4-D model automatically updates all life-cycle scenarios and components simultaneously.

Author notes


Co-Director Environmental Technology Lab, Florida International University, College of Architecture, Miami, Florida, USA,