4.42J | Fall 2010 | Undergraduate

Fundamentals of Energy in Buildings


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session


8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics

18.02 Multivariable Calculus

Course Overview

This design-based subject provides a first course in energy and thermo-sciences with applications to sustainable energy-efficient architecture and building technology. No previous experience with subject matter is assumed. After taking this subject, students will understand introductory thermodynamics and heat transfer, know the leading order factors in building energy use, and have creatively employed their understanding of energy fundamentals and knowledge of building energy use in innovative building design projects. This year, the focus will be on design projects that will complement the new NSTAR/MIT campus efficiency program.

Assignments and Evaluations

The final grade in the course will be based upon analytical homework assignments, two quizzes, design projects, and class participation weighted as follows:

Homework assignments and class participation 20%
Two design projects 20%
Two quizzes 30%
Final exam 30%


Homework will be distributed in class, and due dates announced at that time. The assignments are essential to learning the material. There will be seven assignments throughout the semester. Each student will make a short presentation on their evaluation of an advanced building that they have visited.

Design Projects

There will be two design projects in this class. They will require creative use of the principles and information given in the course to solve a particular problem, relating to energy consumption in buildings. They will be due in Lec #17 and Lec #26, respectively.


There will be two open book quizzes given in class (1 1/2 hour duration each). They are scheduled for Lec #13 and Lec #21, at the usual class time and location. The content of the quizzes will be discussed in the class sessions leading up to the quizzes. There will also be a three-hour long exam during the final exam period.

Textbook and Readings

The required text for this course is:

Levenspiel, Octave. Understanding Engineering Thermo. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996. ISBN: 9780135312032.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Exams with Solutions
Projects with Examples
Design Assignments