Examples: How student might use interactive decision making to help achieve net zero energy and water performance in Living Building Studio Classroom

Heating and Cooling--
On a spring day students may opt to open the bi-folding doors and awning windows for cross ventilation. On a hot day they may elect to position the barn doors to cover the bi-folding glass doors in order to reduce heat gain. On a cold day they may position the barn doors to enclose the dogtrot, cutting off cold cross ventilation while maintaining solar heat gain through the south bi-folding glass doors. Combining any number of such decisions to be made daily, the LBC Studio will in and of itself serve as an environmental laboratory. When natural ventilation is no longer appropriate based on climatic conditions, the geo-thermal air displacement ventilation system provides a healthy, mechanical alternative.

Nature Light and LED Light--
Another critical decision students will make is to determine when the daylight harvesting is sufficient versus when the LED lights need to be turned on. After minimizing the energy demand of the studio both through design and operation, renewable energy sources will be able to deliver the entirety of the power needs. Photovoltaic panels will be mounted on the roof, which is properly oriented to maximize solar harvesting. 

Wind Energy--
A wind turbine will further supplement power needs and serve as an additional opportunity for studying sources of renewable energy. Students will be able to determine what energy generated by the wind turbine will be utilized by the LBC Studio.

Water Harvesting--
The studio is designed to both capture rainwater from the roof and condensate from the heat pump. The first stop for collected water is a large above ground cistern. From there water will be pumped primarily by hand, with a mechanical back-up system, up to underground storage at the top of the adjacent hill. Students will then use a series of valves to determine how to flow water down through the vegetable terraces. In addition to vegetable terraces, the project features a rooftop herb garden, a living wall for food producing vines, and an orchard.

Geothermal System--
Also, the studio is built into a hill with a retaining wall for passive thermal mass heating and cooling. Yet when the passive thermal capacity of the hill has reached its limit, students may switch to the active geothermal heating & cooling system. The geothermal system also utilizes thermal mass as the heating and cooling mechanism, but relies on mechanical means to tap into storage capacities 300' below the surface of the earth. 

LBC Studio is ”Red List” Free building--
Student in the LBC Studio will educate the Houston community about healthy building environments by altogether eliminating toxic "red list" chemicals from the selected building materials and by encouraging transparency in the building industry. Achieving this level of transparent, non-toxic environment is in fact one of the most challenging aspects of the project. Chemicals known to be harmful to both humans and ecologies are still prevalent in building materials.