Ulrike Passe

Associate Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University, USA teaching architectural design and environmental technologies and serving as the Director of the Center for Building Energy Research. Ulrike Passe’s multidisciplinary research projects study space as environmental technology. In 2009 she served as faculty advisor to the ISU Solar Decathlon Team. Further funded research included “The fluid-dynamics of Air-Flow in Free-flow Open Space: An Architectural Approach to Energy Efficient Building” (Boston Society of Architects) and an NSF EFRI EAGER grant Multi-scale material and dynamic thermo-fluid computational modelsand controls for sustainable buildings using efficient energy harvesting materials”Passe also leads the building science plank in the Iowa NSF EPSCoR project “Harnessing Energy in the Biosphere to Build Sustainable Energy Systems”. She has also published multiple papers on Alvar Aalto’s Municipal Library in Vyborg/ Viipuri and Aalto’s environmental technologies and participated in the  Alvar Aalto Researcher Network Seminar in 2012 and 2015.

Within Iowa NSF EPSCOR she leads the building science plank. The goal of the building science plank is to understand the relationship between building science, design, and human behavior in existing structures in Iowa, and engage students and the community in energy utilization awareness. The Building Science Plank developed the ISU Solar Decathlon Interlock House into a community laboratory in partnership with Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources to study various energy efficiency strategies and design tools.

Interlock House Community Laboratory: The residential community lab project is aimed at optimizing energy efficiency through design strategies. This project combines the effort of onsite measurements and experiments and investigating occupant behavior together with simulation based studies.

Various types of sensors are installed to study the design performance and energy flow in the community lab. ANSYS Fluent and OpenFoam are utilized to simulate and study natural ventilation and solar heating effects on the Interlock House. Onsite measurements as well as occupancy questionnaires and innovative building control interfaces help to validate the computational simulation models, and validated models will enable the development of design guidelines to reduce energy consumption in existing and new residential construction.

This project aims to provide design guidelines for passive heating and cooling strategies in Iowa by:

  1. Promoting natural ventilation to cool and refresh the interior air in mild seasons.
  2. Making full use of solar radiation to heat the interior in winter.
  3. Integrating daylight design with spatial composition measurement data.