Buildings represent a significant part of our impact on the environment. To deal with energy and climate change issues, it is absolutely critical that we have people who are trained to design and retrofit high-performance buildings. Other graduate or professional programs might specialize solely on technical requirements, which misses the fact that real building design is inherently interdisciplinary. Problems that arise in building design often emerge from the fact that engineers and architects aren’t speaking the same language; our intent is to build project work teams that bring both groups together and teach students to communicate across fields through real-world design projects.
The focus on real-world projects is perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the MEL in High Performance Buildings program. Students will benefit from a tightly integrated curriculum of traditional courses with major project work, having the opportunity to do real work on an existing building and a new building under design using the tools they are learning in the other courses on these capstone projects. We are getting these projects from the UBC campus planning office, who will bring together our student teams with outside professional design teams. They are very keen to engage our students to explore issues that might not be fully explored in the existing work plan.
We’ve had extremely enthusiastic feedback from industry. Many professionals in the local community are eager to teach in the program because they are having trouble finding people trained in these areas. Their perspective will be of great benefit to students. Learning from instructors who’ve been directly involved in sometimes messy relationships between owners and clients, and who have negotiated often conflicting requirements – such as cost and energy performance – will be an important part of the program’s training and education.
I’m one of the directors and am the program’s mechanical engineering lead. I have taught classes in thermal design and heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and my research focuses on thermal design and building ventilation. I’ll be teaching the mechanical systems course and am involved in hiring the outside instructors who will help deliver parts of program and share their decades of experience in the field with our students.
Dr. Steve Rogak received his BASc from UBC (Mech ’86) and PhD from Caltech (Environmental Engineering Science ’92). Dr. Rogak is a world-leading expert on the morphology, transport properties and aerosol dynamics of aerosol nanoparticles, with 1500 citations of his papers on these topics. Recently his group made the new discovery that the flow resistance in loading building ventilation filters can change dramatically in response to humidity changes. Dr. Rogak is a frequent reviewer for Aerosol Science and Technology, Energy and Buildings, Journal of Aerosol Science, Carbon and SAE. He is the ASHRAE liaison for the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and works closely with companies in the buildings and clean energy sectors.