Cluster for Sustainability in the Built Environment

The Building Science Group has launched the Cluster for Sustainability in the Built Environment at the University of Maryland (CITY@UMD). The Cluster's mission is to understand the fundamental principals of built infrastructure's impact on energy consumption, environmental quality, and population well-being. This understanding enables the creation and management of healthy urban ecosystems.

University of Maryland Campus Dashboard

The Cluster for Sustainability in the Built Environment has been collaborating with the University of Maryland's Fascilities Management to develop and deploy a campus wide energy use dashboard. The dashboard, which aims to launch at the start of Spring 2016 Semester, will display meter measurements and building analysis for over a hundred UMD buildings that are in the centralized UMD-FM system.

Environmental Chamber

The Cluster for Sustaniability in the Built Environemnt at the University of Maryland (CITY@UMD) plans to build environmental and climate chambers to study different ventilation strategies, indoor thermal comfort, and indoor/outdoor building science validation studies.


  • Overall Chamber Dimension: The dimension of the chamber (length × width × height) is 22ft × 16ft × 15ft (6.7m × 4.9m × 4.6m).
  • Climate Chamber: The Climate Chamber compartment occupies 30% of the chamber and has dimension of 6.6ft × 16ft × 15ft (2.0m × 4.9m × 4.6m).
  • The Environmental Chamber: The Environmental Chamber is 15.4ft × 16ft × 15ft (4.7m × 4.9m × 4.6m) and occupies 70% of the chamber.
  • Location of the Chambers: The chambers are located in a warehouse condition area and the ground level of the space is used for the installation of the sensors and the mezzanine is used for the installation of the HVAC systems.
  • Air Handling Units (AHUs): Each of the chamber compartments has separate AHUs that supplied the filtered and conditioned air, meaning at the same time the chambers can have different temperature setpoints.
  • Air Change Hour (ACH): The airflow rate for the chamber is 1 ACH to 12 ACH. Also, it is required for the both of the chambers to operate with 0 – 100% of the outdoor air and meet the requirements of the indoor air temperature and humidity under the outdoor design conditions.
  • Air Leakage: Max AHU leakage should be less than 5% of the flow supplied to the chamber at any time. The current need is 2-10 Pa to make sure that there is no infiltration to the chamber conditioned spaces.
  • Setpoint Response Time: The maximum allowable response time for achieving a new set point and humidity is 10 minutes.
  • Design Conditions: The design conditions to size the HVAC systems for the chamber are:
    • Summer design conditions: T= 95°F (35°C) and RH = 60 %
    • Winter design conditions: T = 19.4°F (-7°C) and RH = 60 %
  • Operating Condition: The temperature and relative humidity inside of the chamber needs to vary between the lower and upper range specified in the following when the chamber uses 100% outdoor:
    • Minimum temperature and relative humidity of the chamber are 68°F (20°C) and 40%, respectively.
    • The maximum temperature and relative humidity of the chamber are 82.4°F (28°C) and 70%, respectively.
  • Internal Loads: The maximum internal load of the chamber consists of 6 persons, 6 personal computers/laptops, lamps, measurement equipment. This will not exceed 2 kW.


Figure 1. Partitioning of the chamber into the Climate Chamber and Environmental Chamber

Figure 3. Two-dimensional cross section of the AHUs with the installed sensors

Figure 2. Description of the taller entry doors to the chambers

Figure 4. General overview of the chambers and components of the chambers with the location of the lab (3D view from NE)


A graduate certificate in Sustainability for the Built Environment will be launched in Fall 2014 /Spring 2015 at the University of Maryland. We plan to have three certificate programs with the same topic of Sustainability for the Built Environment to be residing in A. James Clark School of Engineering, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation as well as the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. There three certificate programs will be merge in one professional Masters Program in Fall 2015.

A. James Clark School of Engineering / Mechanical and Civil Engineering Courses:

ENME808i / ENME424: Urban Microclimate and Energy (Instructor: Radermacher)

Urban microclimate from the perspective of transient heat and mass transfer using building energy simulations for building clusters as well as LEED building certification criteria. The focus is on understanding building energy consumption and environmental impacts from the individual building scale to a neighborhood scale

ENME 701: Sustainable Energy Conservation and the Environment (Instructor: Radermacher)

Discussion of the major sources and end-uses of energy in our society with particular emphasis on renewable energy production and utilization. Introduces a range innovative technologies and discusses them in the context of the current energy infrastructure. Renewable sources such as wind and solar are discussed in detail. Particular attention is paid to the environmental impact of the various forms of energy.

ENME 808W/ENME 489N: Advanced Energy Audit and Conservation (Instructor: Neil Schulman)

Students will be provided with current and future trends in energy resources and technologies while providing them with the necessary skills to conduct energy audit/analysis on both commercial and residential facilities. Energy accounting procedures for electrical, mechanical and HVAC systems will be covered in detail, along with economics/life-cycle costing analysis.

ENME 808P/489M: Ultra-low Energy Use Appliance Design (Instructor: Neil Schulman)

The goal of the course is to drive energy efficiency innovation in appliances and equipment used in and around U.S. buildings. To achieve this goal, the course will address and discuss in detail on the psychrometric processes, vapor compression cycles, appliances and heat exchanger designs. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the potentials of these emerging technologies and experience various aspects of research and development in engineering.

ENCE 604: Sustainability for Project Managers (Instructor: Neil Schulman)

This course addresses the fundamentals of sustainability for project managers including best practices of modern sustainable construction and project management. Commercial and residential buildings consume about 40 percent of the energy used in the United States. The course therefore emphasizes the application of the sustainable development standards to the built environment, including the practical operational aspects of sustainable facility project management.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources / Environmental Science and Technology:

ARCH 418M: Measuring Sustainability (Instructor: Ralph Bennett)

Studies metrics of sustainability as included in rating standards, including LEED. All students will take the LEED GA test. Course offered in fall semester.

ARCH 460: Site Analysis and Design (Instructor: Margaret McFarland or designee)

ARCH majors only. Prerequisite: ARCH 400 or permission of department. Principles and methods of site analysis; the influence of natural and man-made site factors on site design and architectural form. Course offered in spring semester.

ARCH 461: Sustainability in Architecture (Instructor: Margaret McFarland or designee)

Prerequisite: ARCH 401 and ARCH 410 or permission of department. Strategies of sustainability as related to the broader context of architectural problem solving.

RDEV 688Y: Practical Issues in Sustainability (Instructor: Margaret McFarland or designee)

This is a practical issues course addressing the business impacts and drivers of sustainability. Students taking this class will receive broad-based business issue exposure to a wide range of sustainability-oriented topics and be challenged to think about the business issues and impacts of sustainability across numerous subject matters. The goal is for students to apply macro insights gained from this class to their ongoing curriculum, coursework class assignments, and professional careers.

School of Architecture Planning and Preservation / Architecture:

ENST 681: Advanced Ecological Design (Instructor: Stephanie Lansing, offered every other Spring)

This is an advanced survey course on the field of ecological design and engineering. Principles of ecological engineering are applied through design of biologically-based waste treatment systems.

ENST 689J: Valuing Ecosystem Services (Instructor: Bob Tjaden, offered Fall)

This course discusses the importance of our ecosystems and the services they provide. Forestland, wetlands and our marine resources are increasingly recognized for their ecosystem services provided to society, to include clean air and water, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, carbon storage and pollination services. This course will prepare students to deal with the complex issues involved in understanding those and other ecosystem services and their importance to society and environmental sustainability.

ENST 643: Advanced Industrial Ecology (Instructor: Patrick Kangas, offered Spring)

Problems of waste management and recycling in human societies are covered. The industrial ecology approach to design is contrasted with analogous patterns and processes from natural ecosystems.

ENST 653: Watershed Science: Water Balance, Open Channel Flow, and Near Surface Hydrology (Instructor: TBD, offered Spring)

ENST 652: Wetland Creation and Restoration (Instructor: A Baldwin)

Design, construction, and evaluation of wetlands restored or created for ecosystem enhancement or mitigation. Topics will include ecological restoration theory, goal-setting, practices for establishing wetland hydrology, substrate, and vegetation, and restored ecosystem monitoring and functional assessment.

ENST 605: Energy and the Environment (Instructor: David Tilley, offered Spring)

Role of energy in environmental and human-dominated systems and their linkage. Discussion of the historical and modern production and consumption of energy. Energy systems simulation modeling, energy analysis and energy auditing. Review of national energy policies and proposed alternatives.

Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities

This workshop aims to generate initiatives into research supporting innovations in designing, constructing and maintaining building stock and other civil infrastructure to be more resilient and sustainable.

Influenza Transmission and the Built Environment

In March 2014 engineers, designers, and researchers from around the world met at the SESYNC headquarters in Annapolis, MD. There they attended a workshop that explored creative new approaches to solving transmission problems of airborne infections in sustainable and healthy buildings.

Measurement Science For Sustainable Construction and Manufactureing

A major need for achieving sustainable construction and manufacturing is to establish meaningful measurements for the complex attributes of sustainability suitable for lifecycle considerations. What one can measure, one can manage. NIST, ASCE, ASME and the University of Maryland are holding a workshop to address this challenge. Workshop will take place on June 12-13 at the ASCE Bechtel Center in Dulles, VA