Zero-Energy Housing

Type of Resource



Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their projects for thermal gains and losses during a simulated day and night then compare designs with other teams for suggestions for improvements.

Performance Expectations

HS-ESS3-4   Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

HS-ETS1-1   Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.

HS-ETS1-2   Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

HS-ETS1-3   Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

MS-ETS1-1   Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions

MS-ETS1-2   Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

MS-ETS1-3   Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

MS-ETS1-4   Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

MS-ESS3-3   Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Science and Engineering Practices

Crosscutting Concepts