Harvard University Opens HouseZero

Published 12-19-2018
  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero
  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero
  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero
  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero
  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero
  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero

    Courtesy of Michael Grimm and HCGBC.

  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero

    Courtesy of Michael Grimm and HCGBC.

  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero

    Courtesy of Michael Grimm and HCGBC.

  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero

    Courtesy of Michael Grimm and HCGBC.

  • Harvard University - Center for Green Buildings and Cities - HouseZero

    Courtesy of Stu Rosner and Harvard Magazine.

Harvard University opened HouseZero in December of 2018 in Cambridge, Mass. Acting as a living laboratory for sustainable design and construction, the project features a data-driven infrastructure with nearly 300 embedded sensors that produce 17 million data points in real time each day. Software informed by the house's sensors automatically opens and closes windows, circulating air through cross ventilation and convection flows. Algorithms informed by sensors optimize ventilation in relation to the house's mass, reducing the need for building systems almost entirely. In extreme weather, a ground-source heat pump channels naturally heated or cooled water into the house, where it runs through the radiant floor slabs to help regulate temperature. On the top floor of the structure, a flexible experimental space hardwired to the building’s energy exchange system allows for the testing of current and future technologies. The facility is a completely renovated pre-1940s structure and accommodates the headquarters of Harvard Graduate School of Design's Center for Green Buildings and Cities. The architect for the 4,600-sf project was Snøhetta