Achieving net-zero status while emphasizing the heritage architecture landmark of the organ pipe cactus national monument in Arizona, USA

Nader Chalfoun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The House Energy Doctor program at the University of Arizona is aimed at advanced understanding of the theory and principles related to sustainability in green building design, energy conservation, and passive solar high-performance buildings. Faculty and students of the program are currently engaged in a multi-year effort towards accomplishing a vision and a goal that would preserve the heritage of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument buildings while transforming its status into a world-class first net-zero park in the nation. The project is a collaboration with a team of experts in heritage architecture from the park. During the first fiscal year of 2015, three major tasks have been accomplished that include the development of seven net-zero design schemes for the visitor center using energy performance simulation and analysis and the integration of advanced environmental systems. To achieve these goals, 3 courses, 7 faculty members, and over 32 students collaborated on the work through first, an advanced integrative environmental design and research studio that focuses on regional sustainable energy efficient high performance buildings and emphasizes on latest environmental technologies for indoor and outdoor spaces. The studio investigated the heritage conservation aspects of the visitor center pertinent to Mission 66 standards. Second, a House Energy Doctor course that provides service while fostering hands-on inquiry based learning. Buildings’ energy conservation and passive solar design were investigated through up-to-date computer energy simulation techniques and Level III energy audits and field investigation of the buildings. And, third, a luminous, thermal, and acoustic laboratory-based course where theoretical learning is verified by empirical research and experimentation. Many of the technologies that were prescribed to buildings on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument campus were tested in the laboratory. This paper demonstrates the methods used during the first year and illustrates the findings and results of the research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWIT Transactions on the Built Environment
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameWIT Transactions on the Built Environment
ISSN (Print)1743-3509
ISSN (Electronic)1746-4498


  • Cool towers
  • Energy efficiency
  • National park
  • Net-zero
  • Solar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Transportation
  • Safety Research
  • Computer Science Applications


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