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Below are fourteen (14) questions, a required question from Chapter 01 and one (1) each from Chapters 01 through 11 and two (2) from Chapter 12 of the course textbook, Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings, 12th Edition (2014) by Grondzik and Kwok.   An electronic version of the textbook is available from Internet Archive at:

Answers are to be in the form of a short essay between one-half and one-and-one-half pages in length, single spaced. Each question answered is to begin with identification of the question number and associated chapter, and restate the question at the top of a new page.

The “Required Question” is mandatory and is to be answered. Select six (6) additional questions from Questions 01 through 12b. There should be a total of seven (7) answered questions.

A complete answer to each question will be in the form of:

  1. Identification of the Question Number AND Restatement of the Question atop a NEW PAGE
  2. Introduction Paragraph with a Thesis Statement as the last sentence
  3. Body of the Answer in the form of individual paragraphs for each element of the answer, and
  4. Conclusion in the form of a Paragraph summarizing the salient points from the Body and a statement tying the answer to the Thesis Statement and main element(s) of the question.


Why is so much emphasis placed upon development of clear design intent and criteria early in the design process? Designs have surely been completed without explicit thinking about design intent and criteria. Why worry about intent?

Choose six (6) of the following thirteen (13) questions to be answered.


It is suggested that many key decisions regarding the general direction that design for climate control and illumination will take must be made during conceptual design? What does a designer lose by waiting until later in the design process to decide upon issues such as passive versus active responses?


Has the concept of what constitutes an acceptable design response changed in the last decade to account for concerns about sustainability of Earth’s energy and materials resources? If so, how is this change manifest to building designers; to building users?


Why is an understanding of microclimatic variations on a site important to building design efforts? Are such variations always minor (having just a subtle effect on design), or might they be major (dominating a particular design decision or issue)?


From a building design perspective, identify and describe the important elements to consider about thermal comfort during the design process. Which one/ones do you believe is/are the MOST important and why?


Several authors have commented on the generally dismal indoor environment conditions that existed 100 or more years ago with open coal and wood fires and combustion light sources. Today’s environmental control systems seem to generate far less polluting and are more occupant-friendly, yet poor indoor air quality complaints are commonplace. Why do we seem to have more problems with IAQ today than in 1900? Explain.


The importance of distinguishing clock time from solar time is emphasized in environmental system design. If this distinction is not considered, what impact might that have on building design? Would such impacts show up primarily in lighting design, thermal design, or something else? Explain and discuss.


If “superwindows,” windows that perform better than opaque wall assemblies, become readily available and economical, will they fundamentally change how buildings look and function —similar to the changes brought about by the widespread use of mechanical and electrical systems? Explain.


A distinction is made between preliminary design tools for daylighting and more exact or precise daylighting analysis tools. Why is this distinction of interest (or importance) to a building designer?

Optional Question 09 – Chapter 09

Tradeoffs are an integral part of the design process. Discuss some of the “internal” tradeoffs that may be necessary when designing passive heating/cooling and daylighting systems. Discuss some “external” tradeoffs you would expect to find between design of these climate control systems and other building systems (for example, functional relationships, circulation, security, aesthetics).

Optional Question 10 – Chapter 10

Describe the difference between design guidelines or criteria and design performance. Explain the relationship between the use of guideline/criteria tools and performance tools during the design process.

Optional Question 11 – Chapter 11

At what point in the design process should responsibility for design of passive heating, passive cooling, and daylighting systems generally be transferred from the architect to an appropriate consultant? Does the transfer point differ between these three systems? If so, why?

Optional Question 12a – Chapter 12

Proper thermal zoning is fundamental to the development of a successful HVAC system. Describe how the thermal zoning layout of a building might influence: (a) selection of an HVAC system type, (b) type and layout of a distribution tree, (c) occupant thermal comfort.

Optional Question 12b – Chapter 12

Discuss the key architectural design implications normally associated with a decision to use local systems as opposed to a central heating-cooling system. List and describe five (5) attributes that you associate with use of a local system and five (5) attributes that you associate with use of a central system.

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