Buildings account for about 40% of US energy consumption, with over half the energy used in residential buildings. Further, 72% of electricity and 54% of natural gas are used in buildings. For example, advances in building technologies and practices will enable the design and construction of affordable quality, high performance homes that are both net zero energy and zero peak load. Current national goals seek to reduce energy use in new homes by over 50% beyond the 2009 IECC Code resulting in “net zero energy ready” homes, whereby small renewable energy systems could meet most or all annual energy consumption. Also, current goals seek to reduce energy use in existing buildings by 20-30%. Commercial building longer term directional goals have addressed zero net energy buildings, with the more recent “Better Buildings Challenge” goals focusing on a 20% reduction in energy use over the next decade.
However, to assure that buildings are safe, healthy and durable, design and construction professionals must be educated, trained and certified in building science and advanced construction management practices. Today, very few universities offer adequate building science curricula and very few professors are teaching current advances in both building science and advanced construction management practices.
Joint Committee on Building Science Education
The Joint Committee on Building Science Education was originally established as a standing joint committee on building science education, by the National Consortium of Housing Research Centers (University Consortium) and the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) to facilitate excellence in building science education. The Joint Committee is hosted by the University Consortium and its programs and direction are guided by the partnering university and other peer organizations. The Joint Committee has become a coalition of peer organizations that works closely with other academic and research organizations and the Department of Energy (DOE) towards transforming building science education. Its work has initially focused on university and two-year college curricula and teaching materials and support of student design competitions, and also, through its partnering organizations, continuing professional building science education. Specifically, the key members of the joint committee participate in the DOE Task Force on Building Science Education and support of the student competitions enhancing building science education, particularly the DOE Race to Zero Student Design Competition.
The mission of the Joint Committee on Building Science Education is to support the transformation of the education and training of the design and construction industry profession, such that it’s professionals, educated, trained and certified in building science and related advanced design and construction management practices, routinely design and build quality, high performance buildings that are safe, healthy, durable, comfortable and very energy efficient and always provide the highest value to their clients.
The initial focus of the Joint Committee is university and two-year college level education and support of organizations providing continuing education. This work will be conducted in close collaboration with the Department of Energy’s Building America Program, and through its host, the National Consortium of Housing Research Centers, in partnership with the Associated Schools of Construction, the Architectural Engineering Institute, NIBS-BETEC Education Committee and other partnering university and continuing education organizations.
DOE Task Force on Building Science Education
The Building Science Education roadmap recommended the establishment of a task force to coordinate the activities of many organizations supporting the roadmap’s objectives. The DOE Task Force will coordinate and guide near term roadmap implementation actions. Work is conducted through National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Home Innovation Research Labs, the University of Minnesota, and in partnership with EEBA, ACI, the Joint Committee on Building Science Education, along with extensive industry support. Key projects include the DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition, and the Criteria Task Group’s efforts to identify, rate and share university building science curricula, key courses and teaching resources.