← Return to course list


Sustainable Indoor Environmental Systems

Number: BCT 311
Credits: 3
Format: In person, Amherst

Semester: Spring
Meeting Times: Tuesdays & Thursdays: 10:00 - 11:15
Room: Olver Design Building 162

LMS Link


L. Carl Fiocchi,
Ph.D., M.Arch., B.A.

SR. Lecturer & Chief Professional Masters Advisor

Office: Olver Design Building 337
Phone: +1 (413) 545-1866

Office Hours | Faculty Page | LinkedIn

Course Description

Our Built Environment has a substantial impact on energy and material resources as well as being a critical determinant of health, comfort, and productivity for occupants. Additionally, there is the negative carbon impact on our environment; beginning with the embodied energy incorporated into the construction of a building followed by the lifelong accumulation of a building’s operational energy. It is the building’s systems that are the primary contributors to operational energy. The focus of this course is to understand the fundamental principles behind the sustainable design and regulation of thermal and environmental comfort achieved by the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems (MEP Systems) in our buildings and to understand the relationship to energy conservation, as the most cost-effective, environmentally safe method for lowering energy costs and dependence on a finite supply of fossil fuels. Pre-requisites:  Open to Juniors & Seniors only. BCT 211 Recommended.

Learning Goals

  • Understand the historical evolution of mechanical systems present in our buildings.
  • Understand the metrics necessary to evaluate and compare both energy loads and total energy consumption in buildings.
  • Understand the multiple factors impacting Occupant Comfort in buildings.
  • Understand the multiple systems providing Thermal Comfort (Heating & Cooling) in buildings
  • Understand the impact of Lighting Systems on Building Loads, Occupant Comfort, and Building Performance.
  • Understand the requirements for Ventilation Systems in our buildings and their association with Occupant Health and Building Performance.
  • Understand the mechanisms by which potable water is supplied to our buildings and wastewater is disposed of in a manners protecting the health and well-being of both the building occupants and the community at large.
  • Gain awareness of the substantial (40%) contribution that the operational energy consumed by the building’s system impacts the Global Climate.
  • Gain additional familiarity with "Construction Language”.
  • Gain experience in working in a collaborative team environment.
  • Gain experience in written communication skills and protocols.


Bailes III, Allison A, “A House Needs to Breathe... or does it?: An Introduction to Building Science”, Publisher: Ingram,  2022. ISBN13: 9781958711125.


311 Syllabus 2023

← Return to course list