Monthly Archives: December 2016

S:PACE Trip – Washington, DC on November 11-12, 2016

The annual Penn State S:PACE Fall Construction Trip took place in early November. The trip was very successful this year, as group of 30 students traveled to the DC area visiting several active jobsites at different stages of construction. Students received a guided tour of each project, where they were able to learn more about the project processes and the construction methods being employed. Companies that hosted the trip this year included Benchmark Construction, Bozzuto Group, DPR Construction, James G. Davis Construction, Clark Construction, Balfour Beatty, and Barton Malow Company.


This year’s trip gave students the opportunity to see a variety of different projects. At Benchmark, students toured a hospital project that consisted of a co-generation plant and overbuild that added 6 stories over a functioning hospital. DPR took students on a tour of a new medical facility that will serve as a fertility clinic. Students also got to see large, high-rise residential construction at Bozzuto’s Anthem House project in Baltimore and a combination of hotel and residential at Clark’s Ballpark Square project near the National’s Ballpark. DAVIS gave students a tour of the new Capital One Headquarters, soon to be the tallest commercial building in the Washington area. Balfour Beatty toured students through and around their Capital Crossing project, which is the re-creation of three city blocks (7 acres) over an active interstate. Students also toured the new UMBC basketball arena on their visit with Barton Malow. Overall, the trip was a great success, giving students the opportunity to learn about many different types of building projects and the challenges associated with their construction.


S:PACE is truly grateful for all the generous support that our PACE company sponsors provide us year after year. Without your help, this year’s trip would not have been possible. The S:PACE Officers and student participants would also like to provide a special thanks to all our jobsite hosts that led the site visits and provided tours!

Thank you for all your time and support!

Submitted by: Cory Mosco (, S:PACE Vice President 2016-2017

Developing of an Optimization Tool to Optimize the Façade Design across Energy, Material, and Lifecycle Cost Criteria

Due to the high contribution of buildings system design decisions to both long term energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions, reducing building energy use is a key path to decrease buildings’ environmental footprint. The purpose of this study is to use an optimization approach to alternative design options, seeking designs that reduce the energy consumption, reduce the environmental impact from material selection, as well as decrease the construction and maintenance costs as early as possible in the design process.

In the current study, a multi-objective optimization model, using the Harmony Search (HS) algorithm, is in development to identify how to best combine design variables, to create a solution that will improve building energy efficiency while also decreasing the life cycle costs. This model considers multiple building envelope materials as design input variables to identify optimum design scenarios with the lowest environmental emissions and life cycle costs.

For more information on this research, please reach out to Ehsan Mostavi ( or Dr. Somayeh Asadi (

Graduate Student Collaborates with University of Auckland for BIM and BMS Data Visualization

bim-to-asset-data-visual_2Graduate stud, Jennifer Lather, spent her summer working with Dr. Robert Amor in the Department of Computer Science in Auckland, New Zealand. During this time, they explored BIM and BMS sensor data and current visualization systems typically used by managers and operators of buildings.

They were exploring data access and transparency with building occupants and investigated ways to show building operations data to end users of those facilities. bim-to-asset-data-visual_2She created a pilot interactive data visualization system for viewing building operations data within a 3D environment and explored various levels of data visualization, including building, floor, and room levels. Further research and development into various use cases are currently being explored.

Submitted by: Jennifer Lather (,
PhD Candidate in Architectural Engineering

Forecasting Occupant Comfort for Improved Energy Model Analysis

Indoor environments should meet the needs of the occupants and enhance their comfort, health and productivity. Efforts to reduce energy consumption often lead to decreased satisfaction for building occupants. These modifications to the environment often cause occupants to change their behavior to improve their personal comfort, often resulting in additional energy use and often cancelling any intended energy improvements.

This study examines how occupant behavior can be more accurately predicted based upon demographics and comfort profiles. Surveys and continuous energy monitoring results provide an in-depth understanding of the indoor environment preferences of the occupants and their energy consumption habits. The data are collected for two case study buildings in Pennsylvania, and two in Doha, Qatar and will be modeled into a machine learning algorithm to forecast occupant comfort desires ad behaviors in a space. A simulation platform is being developed that can accept occupant behavior and preferences as inputs and produce corresponding energy consumption behavior data to help better forecast the user impacts for different design decisions.

For more information on this research please reach out to Yewande Abraham ( or Dr. Somayeh Asadi ( and Dr. Chimay Anumba (