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Building Energy Fundamentals

Understanding heat transfer fundamentals and how they translate into energy flows in a building is critical when designing high performance buildings. Learn about the different forms of heat transfer, material properties like U-factor and R-value, heating and cooling loads, energy use intensity, and the difference between site and source energy.

Constructing and operating buildings requires energy, but high-performance buildings use the right blend of passive and active design strategies to minimize this energy use while keeping people comfortable.

The fundamental modes of heat transfer are conduction, convection, and radiation. Each are important for building design. A representation of convection and radiation are shown here.