Environmental Building Design: Forms of Emergy

The proposition that self-organization for maximum power could offer criteria for environmental building design is compelling, but what forms of building does this indicate? The use of emergy analysis overcomes the discounting of environmental energies, but the literature on emergy and building design suggest two quite different scales of objectives that might be considered. The first is to optimize buildings or their components to achieve a thermodynamic minimum, following the examples of Pulselli et al (2007). However both R.A. Adams (1988) and T. Abel (2007) make the point that buildings are tools of larger social processes and their value must be evaluated according to those hierarchies. This approach opens the topic of sustainable design to its proper scope, the hierarchy and expression of power.

“Environmental Building Design: Forms of Emergy,” Proceedings, Seventh Biennial Emergy Research Conference (University of Florida, 2012)