Center for Environmental Building & Design

  • Thinking beyond MEP

    Positive Energy built its reputation and business on offering high performance MEP engineering services to the residential architecture market with a focus on health, comfort, and decarbonizing. And now we also offer even more accessible consulting for projects in the concept phase of design. We help architects map out passive, resilient, and active systems when the design process is fluid. Based in Austin, Texas we work locally & nationally in partnership with architects, contractors, & owners to help the AEC industry look where its going, rather than where it’s been. We are guided by building science principles and a deeply held ethos that buildings should help human beings thrive.

Energy with Memory

A Positive Energy Podcast

A podcast by Positive Energy with William Braham, Director CEBD and Miaomiao Hou, Visiting Scholar from Tongji University

The famous astronomer and educator Carl Sagan once said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the universe.” What Sagan was pointing at is the fact that for us to really do anything from scratch, we have to understand the system in which we exist.

The planet and all its inhabitants exists as a massive, complex system of interconnected systems that we don’t always see. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown us that public health is part of a global web, inextricably linked. On a smaller scale, the materials and energy that we use to build and operate our homes and cities rely on these natural interconnected ecosystems. Effortlessly spanning scales from the level of the planet, a vast forest or a single home, the science of Systems Ecology provides a powerful perspective and valuable set of tools that can inform skillful design and construction practices for homes, buildings and cities.

How do natural ecosystems provide us with all that we need for our lives, homes and cities? What are the basic ingredients that are “cooked” in this recipe? Join Kristof as he interviews Miaomiao Hou and Dr. Bill Braham for a fast and furious dive into the infinite complexity of emergy. You’ll never be able to un-hear this. We will unpack some of the terms and concepts needed to unlock this powerful, versatile, quantitative way to understand what matters most when it comes to resources and energy, and why. Along the way we will learn about energy that remembers where it comes from and the layers of transformations it goes through along the way to us, so we can make better decisions on how to use it wisely.