UT Helps Design 3-D-Printed Sustainable Building Powered by a Vehicle

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Architecture and Design joined project leader Oak Ridge National Laboratory and close to 20 industry partners today to unveil a 3-D-printed building and vehicle that produce and share energy.

The shared energy system—Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy, or AMIE—demonstrates the integration of generating, using and storing electrical power. Both the building and vehicle were built using the additive manufacturing process of 3-D printing.

The unveiling took place at ORNL as the kickoff to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industry Day.

The project started in August 2014, when members of the UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism group began discussing a sustainable prototype that leverages a vehicle to power a building. Through collaborations with many leading industries—as well as the Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism, Phil Enquist, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP—the building was designed and developed in only one year.

Students and faculty in UT’s College of Architecture and Design contributed to the development of AMIE. In research studios taught in partnership with the Governor’s Chair, SOM architects collaborated with graduate architecture students to explore the opportunities for form, space, light and structure afforded by 3-D-printed polymers, resulting in student research that paralleled and influenced the design of the AMIE prototype.

One such collaborative studio course explored the potential for incorporating large-scale additive manufacturing in building design, resulting in development of the “efficient envelope” feature of AMIE, which points the way to groundbreaking new techniques in construction.

AMIE’s integrated solar arrangement works in conjunction with a hybrid automobile to provide all power needed for the building and vehicle. The solar array’s form provides self-shading while preserving the light and view, and AMIE’s unique interior packaging and color-changing floor-mounted LEDs offer a new perspective on compact living spaces.

“Participating in the development of the AMIE prototype and previous projects afforded our students an unparalleled opportunity to work with the foremost professionals in design and engineering on projects of international significance,” said James Rose, director of the college’s Institute for Smart Structures. “Exposing students to the collaborative environment and technological innovations of projects like these prepares them well for shaping the future of the built environment.”

For a decade, the College of Architecture and Design has partnered with ORNL on net-zero technology, through which buildings produce at least as much energy as they consume.

“The AMIE project provided an opportunity to enrich this partnership with involvement by the Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill,” said Rose. “This unique collaborative effort allowed us to focus our research on emerging materials and their impact on energy-efficient and energy-harvesting building envelopes. The results are an experienced group of students who have influenced design and will innovate design in their future careers as well as an enriched powerful partnership among UT, SOM and ORNL.

For more information about AMIE, visit http://web.ornl.gov/sci/eere/amie.

For more information about the College of Architecture and Design, visit http://archdesign.utk.edu.

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