Buildings Research Briefs

Browse all of our buildings related research briefs below, or explore by topic via the links in the right side bar (on desktop browsers) or at the bottom of this page (on mobile browsers).

A modeling image depicts surface temperatures around Penn Plaza in New York City.
Research Brief: Geospatial data enables the accurate prediction of radiative heat transfer
November 29, 2017

The dynamics of an urban energy budget, especially the thermal exchange between densely built infrastructure and the surrounding environment, are not well understood. CSHub researchers have...

Chart from Air Leakage Influential in Building Life Cycle Impacts, CSHub Research Brief
Research Brief: Air leakage has strong influence on building life cycle impacts
May 2, 2017

Making informed decisions at the earliest stages of the design process can lead to improved building performance. There are many aspects of a building’s design that can influence overall energy...

Graph from CSHub research brief, "Planning more resilient cities"
Research Brief: Planning more resilient cities
March 28, 2017

The International Code Council (ICC)'s structural design codes are specific to building type and geographical region -- an approach which works well in rural environments but not in urban areas...

Image from Concrete Sustainability Hub research brief, quantifying the impact of pavement reflectivity.
Research Brief: Quantifying the impact of pavement reflectivity
March 13, 2017

The change in radiative energy balance, which is called radiative forcing (RF), reduces nearby air temperatures and impacts the surrounding building energy demand (BED) including heating and...

A precast concrete wall section is lifted into place.
Report: Comparing Whole Building & Building Product Environmental Performance
October 17, 2016

Within the buildings sector, the emergence of guides, standards, product category rules, and environmental product declarations designed to evaluate environmental impacts have moved the field...

Chart shows percentage of life cycle energy in Use Phase vs Life Time (years)
Revised Report: LCA for Residential Buildings: Literature Review & Gap Analysis
October 12, 2016

What is the environmental impact of a house throughout its lifetime? This revised report (October 2016) summarizes research on life cycle assessment (LCA) of residential buildings in order to...

Image from "A Break-Even Hazard Mitigation Metric"
Research Brief: A Break-Even Hazard Mitigation Metric
July 7, 2016

It is in society’s best interest—both economically and because of the impact on human lives—to invest in hazard-resistant buildings. But how much should be invested up front to mitigate against...

Chart image from research brief on Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment of Buildings
Research Brief: Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment of Buildings
February 18, 2016

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method that building practitioners can use to analyze the environmental performance of a proposed building design. However, surveys of building practitioners have...

Chart from Brief "The Impact of Changes to Surface Albedo on Radiative Forcing" 2015 Issue 12
Research Brief: The Impact of Changes to Surface Albedo on Radiative Forcing
January 27, 2016

The energy entering, reflected, absorbed, and emitted by the earth are components of the earth's radiative budget. Modifications to surface albedo, a measure of the solar energy the earth’s...

Chart from CSHub brief on city geography and urban heat island
Research Brief: City geometry and Urban Heat Island
November 18, 2015

The urban heat island (UHI) effect is defined as a temperature difference between urban areas and their rural surroundings where the city temperature is higher. UHI is typically studied using...