Dr. Zhai’s primary research and teaching interests are in integrated building systems, sustainable building technologies, and indoor environment quality. He has been developing innovative building products and systems with both experimental and computational analysis and optimization. Such examples include innovative building-integrated photovoltaic and thermal systems, personalized ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and smart living wall systems etc. Particular interest has been put into passive and vernacular architectural techniques such as natural ventilation and thermal storage (e.g., using phase change materials). Dr. Zhai has been leading investigation for various indoor environment quality challenges for both conventional spaces (e.g., retail and office) and mission-critical spaces (e.g., hospital and data center). He has also been participating in practical design and consultation for a variety of green and high-performance building projects.
AREN 2120 - Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer
Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021
Explores fundamental principles of fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Topics include fluid statics, momentum and energy conservations; laminar and turbulent viscous flows; conduction, convection and radiation heat transfer. Emphasizes topics and problems that are important to Architectural Engineers including flow of fluids in pipes and ducts, heat transfer in buildings and building systems.
AREN 2830 - Special Topics
Supervised study of special topics of interest to students under instructor guidance.
AREN 3010 - Energy Efficient Buildings
Fall 2019 / Fall 2020
Lecture course on the analysis and design of buildings and their systems to satisfy the requirements for a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. Examines psychometrics, thermal comfort, building heating and cooling loads, fluid flow basics, and HVAC components and systems.
AREN 4317 - Architectural Engineering Design
Provides a capstone experience to AREN students. Students design a modest commercial building and complete an integrated engineering design of the building systems executed for the conceptual, schematic, and design development phases. Students' teams work on structural, mechanical, electrical/lighting, and construction engineering management design. Each stage produce a professional-quality design document. Faculty and industry mentors participate in the teaching and evaluation of designs.