81321 - Environmental Planning -

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the students will have the basic knowledge related to the concepts of sustainability and sustainable building, within the framework of the relationship between buildings, environment and resources. The students will be able to apply some design and evaluation methods aimed at the adoption of an approach to sustainable design. They will acquire some simple tools of sustainability assessment related to strategies for the control and management of building processes. In particular, they will be able to assess and communicate different technological options related to the main critical environmental factors. The students will have the ability to define strategies to improve performance levels and reduce the impacts induced by the cycle of production, use and disposal of buildings.

Course contents

The course will deepen methods and operative instruments for the sustainable and environmental-friendly design of buildings, starting from the analysis of the context specificities and from the comprehension of the main drivers that guide design choices, such as solar radiation, building orientation, ventilation, building location and urban morphology. During the course, the main relationship among building design and climate change will be mentioned as well as the most recent European mitigation and adaptation strategies (e.g. Green Deal, New European Bauhaus, etc).

During the course, students will be assessed for their analytical capacity, their ability to evaluate and understand the best operational approach to sustainable design. The reading and the analysis of a specific case study, its in-depth study with climate modelling software and its energy certification according to national and/or regional regulations, and the comparison with one (or more) commercial protocols (LEED, CasaClima, BREEAM, PassivHaus) will complement the course and the evaluation. This work will be subject of an in-depth study (called from now on “exercise”) conducted individually by the students and guided by the teacher.

The course will be divided into theoretical lectures and interactive activities with which the professor will stimulate students towards a pro-active approach to knowledge acquisition.

The course will be structured in four thematic blocks, each consisting of some ex-cathedra lessons and moments of interaction. The thematic blocks will deepen the following themes:

1.Thematic block A:

- context analysis, climatic parameters’ evaluation and their representation for design purposes;

- efficient use of resources;

- orientation, solar control, natural ventilation, etc.;

- main regulatory framework.

2.Thematic block B:

- strategies and systems for the design of a bioclimatic building. In-depth study of the main technical and technological solutions, envelope design, thermal insulation and mass, thermohygrometric comfort, passive climate control strategies (cooling and heating);

- analysis of selected best practices.

3.Thematic block C:

- relationship between sustainable design and climate change;

- mentions to the most recent mitigation and adaptation strategies for the sustainable design at the building and district level (e.g. NZEB buildings, Positive Energy Districts, etc.);

- mentions to urban microclimate concept and strategies.

4.Thematic block D:

- environmental design in the contemporary world. Notes on tax incentives (Ecobonus, 110%, etc.) and energy certifications (LEED, BREEAM, CasaClima, PassivHaus, etc.);

- building sustainability assessment using calculation software, selected by the professor;

- simulation of energy certification according to national regulations and comparison with one or more protocols selected by the lecturer (LEED, BREEAM, CasaClima, PassivHaus, etc).


Main reference texts:

- Alessandro Rogora, Progettazione bioclimatica per l'architettura mediterranea. Metodi e Esempi, Wolters Kluwer, 2012

- Victor Olgyay, Progettare con il clima. Un approccio bioclimatico al regionalismo architettonico, Franco Muzio Editore, 2013

- Edward Allen, Come funzionano gli edifici. Ediz. illustrata, Dedalo, 2017

Recommended background texts:

- Alessandro Rogora, Davide Lo Bartolo, Costruire alternativo. Materiali e tecniche alternative per un'architettura sostenibile, Wolters Kluwer, 2013

- Andrea Boeri, Criteri di progettazione ambientale. Tecnologie per edifici a basso consumo energetico, Editoriale Delfino, 2007

- Jacopo Gasapri, L'involucro edilizio stratificato. Soluzioni per l'efficienza energetica in funzione dell'aggiornamento normativo, Edicom Edizioni, 2018

- Andrea Boeri, Ernesto Antonini, Jacopo Gaspari e Danila Longo, Energy Design Strategies for Retrofitting. Methodology, Technologies and Applications, WIT press, 2014

- De Botton, Alain, Architettura e felicità, Guanda, Milano, 2006

- Commissione Europea - Directorate-General for Climate Action, Raggiungere l'impatto zero sul clima entro il 2050, 2019 (disponibile gratuitamente online)

- Telmo Pievani, Mauro Varotto, Viaggio nell'Italia dell'Antropocene. La geografia visionaria del nostro futuro, Aboca edizioni, 2021

Additional materials may be provided by the lecturer, together with the lessons and a selection of the best practices analysed during the course. These materials will be made available on the lecturer's website, in the teaching resources section on Virtuale, or in other repository made available by the university and communicated to students at the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

The course is organised in theoretical lectures held in the classroom and/or in blended mode (according to the indications provided by the University and/or the Department) followed by short practical exercises aimed at supporting the acquisition of knowledge. The practical exercises will be carried out partly in the classroom, during the lessons, and partly completed with autonomous work by the students at home.

The lectures will be supported by the presentation and analysis of best practices, appropriately selected to reinforce the deep understanding of the topics covered.

The course provides the accreditation of 5 CFU for a total of 125 hours of work divided into 50 hours of classroom work and 75 hours of autonomous student work, at home.

The course includes a number of individual activities that will constitute a unique practical exercise consisting of the following parts:

1. Analysis and critical assessment of a case study assigned by the teacher (existing residential building). The critical analysis will focus on the parameters of environmental and bioclimatic design studied in class and it will be supported by the use of drawings, infographics and design tools;

2. Modelling and assessment of the case study using a calculation software identified by the lecturer and communicated to students in the first lessons;

3. Development of the case study energy certification in line with national regulations and its comparison with one or more certification protocols, such as LEED, CasaClima, BREEAM, PassivHaus. The specific methods and the selected comparison protocols will be communicated by the lecturer during the course.

This activity will foresee the production by students of some graphic materials (posters) in A3 format. These posters will synthetize students’ reflections and critical analysis, as well as the software simulations results. The elements included in these posters will be completed individually and progressively by students following weekly instructions and deadlines that the professor will give.

Part of the work (point 1) will be object of two seminar days in which students will be asked to present their work to the class. This seminar will be scheduled around the 2/3 of the course and it will constitute a moment of collective reflection among students and with the professor. This occasion will also be useful for the professor in order to provide suggestions, make corrections on the work, useful for the final exam.

The individual activities and the posters aim to support the students step-by-step in a deep understanding of the topics covered during the course, using a learning by doing methodology.

If one or more students are unable to follow the exercise for exceptional reasons, an alternative route can be agreed with the teacher at the beginning of the course.

Assessment methods

To do the exam, students must register via Almaesami, in accordance with the indicated deadlines. In order to be admitted to the exam, the student must have the minimum percentage of attendance of the Architecture degree and recalled by the teacher at the beginning of the course. The professor will check attendance during the course through roll calls and/or signature sheets. Furthermore, in order to be admitted to the exam, students must have produced the poster for the exercise described in the Teaching Methods section, and summarised below:

1. analysis and critical reading of the case study assigned;

2. simulation and verification of the energy and environmental behaviour of the case study through a specific software;

3. verification of the energy certification of the case study, following the national regulations and comparison with a commercial certification protocol identified during the course.

In order to facilitate the proper correction of materials and to verify its actual production, the teacher will ask students to submit the exercise in digital format a few days before the exam in which the student has registered and to bring it in paper format on the day of the exam. The specific delivery methods (repository/digital folder) will be specified during the first lessons of the course and recalled at the end of it.

The assessment of student learning and knowledge is done through an oral examination in which the student will be asked to demonstrate a deep knowledge of the theoretical arguments presented in class, for example through:

- the discussion of the exercise produced by the student through the presentation of posters;

- the request to discuss some of the best practices presented during the lessons, on which further questions on the topics covered during the course may be asked.

The assessment is graduated according to the student's ability to present the expected knowledge and the material produced. Failure to present their work, discuss it and answer questions will result in failing the examination.

Evaluation criteria and relative weights for the final evaluation:

- Level of theoretical and practical understanding of the topics covered in class and ability to critically analyse best practices, demonstrated through the correct answer to the questions proposed by the lecturer during the exam (35% of the overall grade);

- Quality and effectiveness of part 1 of the exercise (critical analysis) in describing the assigned case study with respect to environmental and bioclimatic design and the student's ability to present it critically during the exam (20% of the overall grade);

- Quality and effectiveness of part 2 of the exercise (energy modelling on software) in deepening the analysis and verification of the environmental parameters, knowledge of the variables, correctness of the model (20% of the overall assessment);

- Quality and effectiveness of part 3 of the exercise (energy certification) in making comparisons between national legislation and the specific commercial protocol adopted (20% of the overall assessment);

- Quality of oral exposition, language property and use of the appropriate technical vocabulary of the discipline during the final examination and during the course; active participation during the classroom course (5% of the overall evaluation).

The student's attainment of an organic vision of the themes addressed and a capacity for in-depth critical analysis, the demonstration of mastery in the use of the methodologies of environmental and bioclimatic design and the use of appropriate and specific language will be assessed with marks of excellence.

The mostly mechanical and mnemonic application of the knowledge and methodologies presented in the course, the ability to analyse and critique not particularly articulate and the use of correct but not always appropriate language will lead to fair grades.

Limited knowledge of the topics and methods presented in class, poor analytical and critical skills, use of inappropriate language - albeit in the context of a minimum knowledge of the exam topics - will lead to grades that will not exceed the sufficiency.

Consistent lacks in the topics covered in class, in the presentation of the exercise and the posters, poor or no ability to analyse and critique case studies and best practices, use of inappropriate language will lead to a negative mark and the failure of the exam.

Teaching tools

Lectures with use of multimedia tools and calculation software (free of charge and/or with free temporary educational licences), integration of single lessons with specific documents and additional bibliographical references. The slides used to support the main lectures will be made available on the lecturer's website, together with the best practices discussed in class.

Office hours

See the website of Saveria Olga Murielle Boulanger