Living and learning in practice: University of Arizona engineering innovation building (EIB)

  • YEAR
    Elzomor, Mohamed
    Youssef, Omar
    2015 Conference Papers
    Architecture and Environment
    Conference Papers


The aim of this paper is to showcase the living and learning approach taken in the design of
University of Arizona’s EIB. The design process focused on creating a highly energy efficient design by integrating passive environmental design techniques, producing renewable energy on-site and meeting building energy performance standards. The EIB has a floor area of 136,000 GSF and was budgeted at a cost of US$42 Million. The 5-storey building serves all advanced engineering research disciplines at the University of Arizona. The objective of this building was to create a learning experience for the building users by emphasising innovative techniques within the building. One of the key enablers for this living and learning approach was the adoption of an integrated design process. As part of this design process, key environmental considerations drove the building’s geometry, which included maximising access to natural daylight and ventilation as well as a focus on water efficiency and the use of Xeriscaping and shading. Analysing its performance using the software tool e-Quest in conjunction with the wind tunnel modelling and overcast sky simulation validated the as-designed performance of the building. The building is targeted to be LEED Platinum certified. As results of simulation and experiments, more than 85% of the internal spaces are daylit and 65% of the spaces are naturally ventilated resulting in a 20% saving in total electricity consumption, of which 25% saving on lighting and a 15% saving on cooling loads compared to a conventional building of this type. In addition, a wind tunnel evaluation was conducted to assess the EIB’s performance when exposed to prevailing wind. This was also used to define the most effective locations and sizes of openings in order to funnel the wind into the building’s atria and main courtyard resulting in a further reduction in cooling loads.


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