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Politecnico di Milano

Sustainable building design in Africa

The course provides the main information about technological systems and tools for designing climate responsive buildings in Africa.

Climate responsive building design in Africa series

This MOOC is one of the 3 MOOCs regarding “Climate responsive building design in Africa”. It aims at providing basic necessary information for designing climate responsive buildings and systems in order to minimise energy demand and consumption in Africa:

  • the MOOCs “Sustainable building design for tropical climates: principles and guidelines for EAC” and “Sustainable building design for tropical climates: integrating design of buildings and technology systems” address the climate responsive design for tropical countries (EAC);
  • the MOOC “Sustainable building design in Africa” extend the design guideline to all other countries in Africa.

Discover all the MOOCs of the “Sustainability” series on Pok4Professionals.

If you are a PoliMI student or staff member you have to log in using your Person Code. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

Course description

The building sector is a major CO2 emitter, second only to the industry sector, accounting for 27% of global emissions, deriving both by the fossil fuel burnt for building operations viz. space heating, hot water production and cooking and by the one burnt for producing the electricity consumed. Moreover, almost 40% of the raw materials and energy produced worldwide are used in the building sector. If the present trend is not changed, the impact of the building sector on global warming is set to grow, because of the combination of factors such as the population growth, the urbanization process, and the improvement of the economic conditions in developing countries. The increase in energy consumption in the building sector can be expected to be even more dramatic, not only because air conditioning will spread and the number of domestic electric and electronic appliances will grow, but also because of the increase in the number of buildings. Among developing countries, the rapid economic and population growth in Africa will have profound implications for the energy sector, both regionally and globally. In this respect, the aim of the course is to provide concepts, tools and necessary information, useful for the development of an environmental conscious approach for designing climate responsive buildings in order to minimise energy demand for adequate thermal and visual comfort in the African countries.

Total workload of the course: 15 hours

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 894712– ABC21

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Information about fees and access to materials

The course is delivered in online mode and is available free of charge.

Course materials will remain available to all enrolled users after the end of the current edition, so they can return to content later. The current course edition will be followed by a new one just after its end.

Learning schedule

The course is structured in 5 weeks hereafter listed:

  • Week 1 – Integrated design approach in Africa
  • Week 2 – Principles of Buildings Physics
  • Week 3 – Climate responsive building design I
  • Week 4 – Climate responsive building design II
  • Week 5 – Technical plants

In particular Week 1 introduces the role of building sector in the GHG global emission, pointing out the pivotal role of Africa in the near future. In such respect also the different climates in the Continent are described in detail. In Week 2 the main principles about building physics are provided. The weekes address both heat transfer and the comfort principles. Weeks 3 and 4 are entirely dedicated to the climate responsive design. More in detail Week 3 deals with design choices (e.g. orientation, solar shading devices) able to reduce the energy demand of buildings, while in Week 4 the impact of different glazing components and main rules to enhance the natural ventilation are outlined. Finally, in Week 5 the main high-efficiency technical systems and renewable energy sources able to reduce the energy consumption and the dependency from fossil fuel are discussed.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

Week 1

  1. Identify the different features of the climates and to define the main design priorities.
    ESCO: developing objectives and strategies ESCO: building construction principles
  2. Apply integrated approach in bulding’s design.
    ESCO: inter-disciplinary programmes and qualifications involving engineering, manufacturing and construction ESCO: leading and motivating
  3. Define the competencies required to build a successful team to achieve project goals.
    ESCO: building and developing teams

Week 2

  1. Recall the main concepts of building physics.
    ESCO: building construction principles ESCO: building and civil engineering
  2. Define the competencies required to identify the main suitable building’s materials in relation to the context.
    ESCO: inter-disciplinary programmes and qualifications involving engineering, manufacturing and construction ESCO: building materials industry

Week 3 and Week 4

  1. Apply sustainable strategies to design climate responsive buildings.
    ESCO: constructing ESCO: building construction principles
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the building physics fundamental apply to different contex.
    ESCO: building and civil engineering

Week 5

  1. Recall the main concepts on efficient HVAC systems.
    ESCO: building construction principles
  2. Apply active solutions to design climate responsive buildings.
    ESCO: constructing ESCO: building and civil engineering

Prerequisites

No prerequisite knowledge is required for this course.

Activities

Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.

Assessment

The final grade for the course is based on results from your responses to the quizzes you will find at the end of each week (weekly quizzes). You will successfully complete the course if you reach 60% (or more) of the total score by the end of the edition. The course’s total score will be calculated by averaging the scores of the assessed quizzes for each individual week.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The Certificate of Accomplishment will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the assessed quizzes. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from the website.

Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

European Qualifications Framework Level

EQF Level 5

Thematic area (ISCED-F classification)

0732 Building and civil engineering
0713 Electricity and energy

Discussion forum

The forum of this MOOC is freely accessible and participation is not guided; you can use it to compare yourself with other participants, or to discuss course contents with them.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact pok@polimi.it. For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

Federico M. Butera

Federico M. Butera

Federico M. Butera, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Technical Physics at the Politecnico di Milano, is UN-Habitat consultant for the development of handbooks on sustainable building and community design in tropical climates and for the design and implementation of training courses on the same subjects in East Africa. For more than 40 years he has been actively concerned in the field of solar energy applications, low energy architecture and sustainable urban development, pioneering the introduction of the topic “sustainable building design” in the architecture students’ education.

He has been involved in many research tasks of the IEA as well as in several EC research programs and in UN and World Bank development projects dealing with renewables and efficient use of energy at building and community scale. Besides his wide scientific production he is also author of books, articles and videos on energy issues for non-specialised audiences. In the last years he has been involved in the design of low and zero energy buildings and communities in Italy, China, Hungary and Niger.

Vincent Kitio

Vincent Kitio

Chief of Urban Energy Unit, UN-HABITAT, is architect from the Institute of Architecture of Venice with a Master Degree on Climate and Architecture in the Tropical Countries. He holds a PhD in Appropriate Energy Technologies for Developing Countries, from the University of Rome la "Sapienza". He is a former lecturer of Environmental Science of Building at the University of Nairobi. He has founded the African Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (ACREST), a Cameroonian NGO that promotes renewable energy options and appropriate technologies to fight poverty. Vincent is currently Energy Advisor for UN-Habitat with the task of mainstreaming Energy into UN-Habitat’s programmes and activities.

Niccolò Aste

Niccolò Aste

Niccolò Aste, is a Full Professor of the Dept. of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering.

He has been actively engaged in several National and International research activities related to energy efficiency of the built environment and to the exploitation of renewable energy sources, with particular reference to the topics of PV technology and its building integration.

Over the years, he has significantly contributed to energy research and has more than 100 scientific publications including three books on the aforementioned issues and research themes. Most relevant publications and research activities deal with the building integration of innovative LSC, PV and PV/T components a well as sustainable buildings technology.

Rajendra S. Adhikari

Rajendra S. Adhikari

Rajendra S. Adhikari is currently working as Associate Professor at the Dept. of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering, Politecnico di Milano.

Over the years, he has been participating in various National and International research projects. His research work is mainly focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency in buildings, energy conservation and low energy technologies. He is the author and co-author of more than 90 publications including two books and scientific papers in various International/National Journals of repute and conferences/seminars.

He has been the member of the editorial board of the international journal ISRN Renewable Energy (The International Scholarly Research Network Publishing). Currently he is the member of the editorial board of Energy and Power (Scientific & Academic Publishing) and Current Advances in Energy Research (American V-King Scientific Publishing).

Claudio Del Pero

Claudio Del Pero

Claudio Del Pero is an Associate Professor of the Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering Department.

He is actively involved in research and advisory activities related to energy efficiency of the built environment and to the exploitation of renewable energy sources, with particular reference to the topics of PV technology and distributed energy generation.

Over the years he has been involved in various National and International research projects related to the exploitation of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency in the built environment and energy management.

Since 2009 he cooperates with the VISPE association (Italian Volunteers for Solidarity in Emerging Countries) for the design and the construction of stand-alone photovoltaic systems for off-grid users and a field hospital in Burundi.

Fabrizio Leonforte

Fabrizio Leonforte

Fabrizio Leonforte is an Associate Professor fellow at Department of Architecture, Built environment and Construction engineering. He has carried out different theoretical and experimental works on renewable energy and energy efficiency in buildings with special focus on the application of hybrid PVT systems.

Since 2013 he is lecturer in two master on the topic of photovoltaic systems and zero energy buildings design at Politecnico di Milano.

He has been also involved as technical advisor in several national and international researches as well as in different project with NGOs and Universities for capacity building of local staff.

Manlio Mazzon

Manlio Mazzon

Manlio Mazzon, graduated in Architecture at Politecnico di Milano in July 2008, has achieved a Ph.D in Technology and Design for Environmental and Building at Politecnico di Milano in January 2016, discussing a thesis on “Development And Use Of Dynamic-State Simulation Tools Suited For Energy Performance Optimization In The Integrated Architectural Design Approach”.

In recent years, he focused on the development of a SketchUp-based interface for building energy dynamic-state simulation carried out by EnergyPlus. Also, he mainly dealt with building energy optimization during the design phase and with energy dynamic-state models and related evaluation tools.

He actively collaborated with teaching activities, both in university and in professional training courses on zero energy buildings issues.

Creative Commons License
This course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except where otherwise specified.

  1. Classes Start

    Jul 24, 2023
  2. Classes End

    Feb 29, 2024
  3. Length

    5 weeks
  4. Estimated Effort

    2-3 hours/week
  5. Language

    English
  6. Course Number

    SustArch103
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