Life Cycle Energy Analysis (LCEA) and embodied energy (EE)
Embodied energy in building materials comprises the main bulk of energy consumption in countries of the OECD. Previous and current research focuses on the specificities of EE in the Israeli context aiming at gaining a comprehensive assessment of the energy implications of current practices, and the potential for energy conservation in the building sector. (Huberman and Pearlmutter, 2007; Pearlmutter and Meir, 2011-on)
Retrofit of existing housing stock is one of the more appropriate and economically feasible approaches to limiting CO2 emissions, providing more comfortable and healthier indoor environments, and extending the life of existing buildings, in the production of which vast amounts of energy have been invested. Israel has a large stock of similar apartments which can thus provide affordable housing for years to come. (Kessler, 2011)
Environment responsive construction must be adapted to the constraints of the specific geo-climatic region in which it is built. Israel presents numerous challenges in this respect due to its extreme climatic variations. A number of research projects have focused on the most extreme of these regions, the Arava deep valley, which is characterized by a hyper-arid climate. Different construction systems and envelope details were monitored under real conditions and their upgrading potential is being estimated by thermal simulations through a rigorous parametric study. (Cicelsky, 2010; Golding, 2010)
Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) is the outcome of the combination of the thermal, visual, and acoustic parameters, as well as those of the physical space design, its psychological effects on the user, the existence of allergens and pathogens etc. Ongoing studies of various buildings show that poor design causes discomfort, absenteeism, poor performance, low productivity, and compromises users' wellbeing. All of these affect energy usage, where overheating and overcooling are often applied, wrongly perceived as potential IEQ correction measures. (Davara, Meir, Schwartz, 2006; Morhayim and Meir, 2008)
Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of green sustainable buildings is still in its first steps, not least because of the lack of significant numbers of green buildings which can provide data for proper assessment. Pioneering research was undertaken to create a model for the CBA of green office buildings in Israel, based on the Israel Standard 5281 Buildings with reduced environmental impact. (Gabay, Meir, Wertzberger, 2011)
Post-Occupancy Evaluation is the study of projects once they have been commissioned and put to use. Observing and monitoring the way in which they are being used, their energy consumption, Indoor Environment Quality, and user satisfaction, allows not just their fine tuning and improvement, but also the improvement of design and construction principles, practices and protocols. On-going work has produced a number of research papers, and feeds back into the pilot projects of the department, as well as the design support tools produced by it. (Meir et al, 2007; Meir, Garb, Dixin Jiao, Cicelsky, 2009)
The mutual effects of urban design and microclimate in built-up areas, focusing on surface energy balance, pedestrian thermal comfort and resource-efficient landscape strategies.
The life-cycle energy efficiency of buildings and their components, emphasizing passive and low-energy heating and cooling, and the embodied energy of structural form. (Huberman and Pearlmutter, 2010; Huberman, Pearlmutter, Gal, Meir, 2011)
Behavioral and cultural aspects of resource consumption in the built environment, including policy mechanisms for encouraging energy conservation and reduced environmental impact. (Bar Ilan, Pearlmutter, Tal, 2010)
The need to bring to the "field" (architects, planners, engineers, students, decision makers) updated, accurate and usable information on sustainable design has led to the production of the first e-book in the field, under a research contract with the Israel Ministry of National Infrastructures. The book is available online free of charge, includes interactive design support tools, among them a thermal simulator with over 250 permutations.
(Pearlmutter, Erell, Meir, Etzion, Rofe, 2010)
Green buildings and their criteria are by definition inter-disciplinary. A system of such criteria was developed by a multi-disciplinary team under a contract of the Pais – Israel National Lottery, which funds the construction of many public buildings. The Pais adopted the criteria to be used as an internal standard, and allocated up to 10% of additional funding for buildings that will meet these criteria. The main beneficiaries are the local authorities for which such buildings are built, and which will save on operating costs. (Meir et al, 2009)
Following the Pais project, additional Green Building Criteria have been produced for different authorities, such as the Ramat Negev Regional Authority, which was explicitly interested in criteria for small buildings in a highland desert environment. (Meir and Pearlmutter, 2010)
DAUP has designed pilot projects of varying size and function, among them residential, education, and public buildings, as well as master and detailed plans. These are used to implement theory and research results, allow monitoring and verification of assumptions, and used as demonstrations. The biggest of these was a detailed master plan for approximately 1,000 residential units and assorted functions, prepared for the Israel Ministry of Construction and Housing. This is the first plan in Israel that incorporates the Israel Standard 5281 as a whole as an integral part of the bylaws. The plan was developed by continuously adapting building types for solar and wind rights, and ensuring the appropriate thermal performance of the buildings through thermal simulations. (Meir and Nahon, 2010)