Performance Based Design.

Each building is a unique ecosystem within the larger ecosystems of landscape and region… Ecologically designed buildings and institutions afford a chance to make such relationships explicit, thereby becoming part of the educational process and research agenda organized around the study of local resource flows, energy use, and environmental opportunities.   David Orr, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The primary goal of this presentation is to explore an integrated approach to analyzing and optimizing building performance in order to move toward the next generation of net-zero-energy and zero-emissions holistic design thinking. The key premise is that exemplary building design is best achieved through an iterative process that employs Building Performance Simulation early on in the design process and the speaker will demonstrate the application of selected design analysis tools and preferred methods through a series of case examples. The audience will learn about methods for evaluating and comparing the performance of buildings including energy demand, thermal loads, water in- and out-flows, as well as related carbon emissions and the process for achieving optimal integrated design solutions.  Principles of thermal envelope dynamics, materials and construction, incuding living envelopes and related impacts of evapotranspiration and internal gains will be discussed. Among the recent work to be presented is the Salovich Zero+ Campus Project, an initiative at the University of Minnesota to achieve the next generation campus that requires net zero energy and reclaims rainwater rather than producing runoff, while regenerating our campus environment. Some of the analysis tools to be reviewed include: IES <VE> Pro (including IES Apache, Radiance and Macroflo plus other proprietary tools developed by the speaker to work with the IES <VE> software; DIVA 2.0, a plugin for Rhino developed by Christopher Reinhart and J. Alstan Jekubiec at MIT for advanced daylighting and thermal analysis including application of climate-based daylighting metrics and combined daylighting, thermal and lighting energy assessment of building design solutions including dynamic shading systems; and Sefaira a cloud-based building performance simulation tool that won the Green Building Innovation of the Year award at London’s Ecobuild in 2011.


LALoren Abraham, RA, LEED AP  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  University of Minnesota, School of Architecture  |  Phone:  612-624-3546  |  Email:

Loren is a licensed Architect, author, industrial designer, educator and researcher with 35 years experience in the building and construction industry. Since 1990 he has focused on energy, healthy environments and livable communities and developed ground-breaking curriculum in the field of sustainable design, especially in the areas of daylighting and Zero-energy buildings. In 1992 Loren was a founding member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC,) assisted in the early development of the LEEDâ„¢ standard and helped develop tools such as Energy10 Software and the Whole Building Design Guide ( He also served as chairman of the Sustainable Buildings Industries Council in Washington D.C. and on President Clinton’s “Greening of the White House” initiative from 1992-96. He holds patents for a number of advanced window and daylighting systems and “smart” manufacturing processes. Loren served as Design Research Manager at Andersen Windows from 1989-94 and Energy Specialist and Research Director for William McDonough + Partners in Charlottesville Virginia from 1995-1997. Subsequently he founded Abraham + Associates Architects and in 2005 joined the faculty at the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota as an adjunct assistant professor. In 2010 Loren was appointed Research Fellow for the Salovich Zero+ Campus Design Project.

Chris_Wingate-MSR-150x150Christopher Wingate, Associate AIA, LEED AP  |  Designer  |  MSR  |  Phone:  612-375-8706  |  Email:

Chris recently joined MSR after receiving his Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota College of Design in 2013. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Minnesota. Chris is passionate about developing and applying a design-centric approach to sustainability that focuses on clarity of concept, design rigor, and inspiring visualization. He leads research and development of new design tools and processes at MSR and oversees a student research partnership with the University of Minnesota. Chris has received numerous awards, including the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Minnesota Chapter Natural Talent Design Competition First Prize in 2010 and 2011, the Thomas F. Ellerbe Scholarship and the Design Democracy Fellowship for his graduate work, and Dean’s Choice Best In Senior Design Show for his undergraduate work. He also received a China Design Fellowship to travel, study, and collaborate with students in Chongqing to envision converting an abandoned steel blast furnace into a public landmark and cinema center.