The Mechanical Engineering faculty at the Cooper Union is leveraging a new high performance academic building as a learning resource for students to connect undergraduate theory to professional practice. The new teaching strategy utilizes an energy efficient building to provide students with direct, practical exposure to modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and Building Management Systems. Students are taken on tours of the building’s HVAC mechanical rooms and partake in laboratory experiments that illustrate the principles of operation and control of these building systems. Furthermore, the student activities are supplemented with new undergraduate curriculum material that introduces basic thermodynamic principles of HVAC operation and provides an overview of the control systems theory involved. This paper will present the pedagogical motivation and goals of the new teaching methods, an overview of the building systems under study, and the development of corresponding curriculum materials and assessment methods.

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