ABSIC / CBPD-School of Architecture - Carnegie Mellon University

Established in 1988, the Advanced Building Systems Integration Consortium (ABSIC) is a university-industry-government partnership to pursue research, demonstration, and development towards improving the quality and performance of commercial buildings and building systems. 

The Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics (CBPD) in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University works hand in hand with ABSIC members to establish research, demonstration and policy activities for the Consortium. The CBPD was the first NSF Industry- Industry University Cooperative Research Center dedicated to the building industry in the United States, and one of only two in the history of the NSF IU/CRC.



ABSIC/ CBPD Current Research Projects


BIDSTM is a case-based cost-benefit analysis tool to support investments in advanced and innovative building systems that improve environmental quality, health and productivity in buildings.  The CMU project through ABSIC support continues to identify laboratory and field case studies demonstrating the relationship of high performance components, flexible infrastructures and systems integration to the range of cost-benefit or productivity indices, with over 300 in the tool by July 2007.  The team is also expanding of a data base relating quality indoor environments to major capital cost and benefit areas, including productivity, health, and operations costs, with baseline data sets to support life cycle decision making.  Through extensive national and international lecturing, and a robust web based tool, the BIDS and e-Bids efforts are leading decision makers to incorporate high performance HVAC systems, improved ventilation effectiveness, and task controls (see web sites http://cbpd.arc.cmu.edu/bids (password protected) and http://cbpd.arc.cmu.edu/ebids (public).

National Environmental Assessment Toolkit (NEAT)

The development of the National Environmental Assessment Toolkit (NEAT) continues with direct support from the General Services Administration for the before and after field evaluation of over 20 federal facilities nationwide. This toolkit combines portable instrumentation with questionnaires and expert walkthrough to create robust baseline assessments of thermal, visual, acoustic, and air quality in the workplace.  The CBPD team has developed robust data collection techniques, GIS based data records, and innovative data analysis tools from scatterplots to environmental "EKGs" for buildings linked to the quality of building systems and facilities use and management.   This toolkit and the GSA field studies are central to building the business case for high performance buildings, and linking indoor environmental quality to facility management costs, health, and productivity (see http:...).
The Building as Power Plant (BAPP)

The Building as Power Plant initiative is in the design-engineering phase integrating advanced energy-effective building technologies (ascending strategies) with innovative distributed energy generation systems (cascading strategies), such that most or all of the building's energy needs for heating, cooling, ventilating, and lighting are met on-site.  A next generation ‘Intelligent Workplace', the built success of the 50,000 square foot BAPP will be its zero carbon/net energy performance as well as user comfort, health and satisfaction, organizational flexibility and technological adaptability as an academic, office and research lab building. Through a series of workshops with leading professionals from around the world, the Center has written design guidelines and developed engineering innovations for BAPP, and successfully written legislation and received research federal funding towards a multi-university National Testbed effort.

High Performance Building Design Guidelines

The Center for Building Performance and ABSIC continues the development of High Performance Building Design Guidelines to ensure that the design/engineering of building systems and systems integration delivers high performance buildings for individual comfort and productivity, organizational flexibility, technological adaptability, and environmental sustainability.  These guidelines identify major system innovations for performance and critical system integration issues for early design decision making to educate professionals about high performance building characteristics; illustrate innovation for clients and their design teams to encourage investments in quality; and provide a framework for structuring early design workshops for collaborative, multi-disciplinary design.

Intelligent Workplace Energy Supply System (IWESS)

The Intelligent Workplace Energy Supply System, is an integrated set of components that uses solar thermal energy and a renewable liquid fuel to provide power, cooling, heating, and ventilation for Carnegie Mellon's Intelligent Workplace, the IW, and its occupants. Graduate students and faculty in the School of Architecture's Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics have been involved with selecting, installing, testing, and evaluating these components and with integrating their operation both with the IW and with the campus power, steam, and chilled water grids. The objective of the IWESS is to provide a healthy, productive, and comfortable environment for the occupants of the IW and to reduce the primary energy requirements for operating the space by a factor approaching 2.  The knowledge gained in this IWESS effort will improve the design of equipment, of systems, and of their operation to reduce the energy consumed by buildings in the U. S., currently 40% of the total consumption of primary energy.