Designing the Lighting, Electrical, and Energy Generation Systems for a Net-zero Highrise in an Urban Setting

Open Access
Livorio, Robert John
Area of Honors:
Architectural Engineering
Bachelor of Architectural Engineering
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Richard George Mistrick, Thesis Supervisor
  • Richard George Mistrick, Honors Advisor
  • Kevin William Houser, Faculty Reader
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Lighting
  • Electrical
  • Net-zero
  • Energy
This thesis was completed within the framework of a national student competition. Given a challenging site in an urban setting and the architecture for an office highrise, the design team engineered the systems for a high-performance building. This report details the various steps taken to maximize operating efficiency while minimizing the building’s impact on the environment. Special considerations were also taken to ensure the safety of occupants in the event of a natural disaster, as the location is in a seismic region. Careful research was conducted to determine what building systems most align with the project goals and performance criteria. Major design decisions were not made in isolation, but were a multidisciplinary point of collaboration, as each building system affects the others. Cooperation within the design team was critical to meeting the ultimate goal, which was not only to create efficient building systems, but to create a positive, cohesive working environment for future building tenants. The final lighting and electrical designs, described in detail throughout this thesis, resulted in a building that responds to the occupants and surroundings. Energy generation is done onsite to avoid the inefficiencies of the electric grid, and offsite generation replaces the entirety of the building’s annual energy consumption. The energy is distributed through an advanced electrical network that eliminates many of the conversion inefficiencies that occur in traditional systems. The lighting design meets the needs of an office working environment, maximizing efficiency and optimizing occupant comfort. Behind each building component is the control system, providing the intelligence that allows for sustained, efficient operation. Most importantly, the building sits within a footprint significantly smaller than a standard office highrise and serves as an aesthetic example of multidisciplinary engineering creating an energy-conscious and intelligent design.