One of the enduring problems of environmental building design is the determination of meaningful norms or points of comparison for evaluation. Building energy use is typically normalized to floor area and compared to buildings of similar types of use in similar climates. This provides a valuable tool for analyzing building operation, but reveals little about building construction and completely obscures the effects of building size or location. Using the techniques of e[m]ergy synthesis exposes the full environmental costs and interconnections of buildings and provides a more comprehensive basis for evaluation.
Throughout the course of the academic year I collaborated in the careful drafting of both data, texts, and diagrams for Prof. William Braham’s investigation of the total amount of E[m]ergy involved in 18 different residential buildings.