Beyond Green: Bio-reactor Integrated Building Envelope (BIBE) in Urban Environment

EPA Grant Number: SU835322
Title: Beyond Green: Bio-reactor Integrated Building Envelope (BIBE) in Urban Environment
Investigators: Kim, Kyoung-Hee , Futrell, Benjamin , Cho, Chung-Suk , Brentrup, Dale , Thaddeus, David , Parrow, Matthew , Zheng, Nigel
Current Investigators: Brentrup, Dale , Navarro, Aaron , Scharrer, Angela , Futrell, Benjamin , Dewulf, Bradford , Jones, Brian , Williams, Bryan , Brown, Chanel , Kuyath, Chelsea , Chlebda, Christine , Cho, Chung-Suk , Thaddeus, David , DeMatteo, Gina , Haig, James , Nutz, Jessica , Hyman, John , Kim, Kyoung-Hee , Andreasson, Martin , Parrow, Matthew , Todd, Michelle , Slobodiuk, Nathalie , Aaronson, Nathan , Zheng, Nigel , Sanchez, Paola , Sharp, Patricia , Mahabadi, Samaneh , Clark, Stephen , Cordes, William , Philemon, William , Mayo, William , Hu, Yiran (Carter)
Institution: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The construction and operation of buildings significantly contributes to resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions. Our research focuses on a feasibility study and prototyping of an algae bio-reactor integrated building envelope (BIBE) system to be installed in retrofit and new construction building facades.. The project will demonstrate that BIBE absorbs indoor and outdoor CO2, produces O2 and biomass (to be used as a renewable energy resource), and improves the energy performance of building envelopes by enhancing heat transmission, reducing solar heat gain and diffusing daylight to meet building lighting needs. The research team will evaluate and optimize the energy performance of BIBE through verifying thermal transfer, solar heat gain and daylighting diffusion. Research efforts will include important contributions from architecture, engineering, and biology and enrich the ability of member departments to share practices in design, research, and education for sustainability. End users will experience, first hand, how BIBE uses energy from the sun to produce biomass fuel and, at the same time, enhance indoor air quality and illuminate their interior spaces.


Conduct a feasibility study of a BIBE system and develop a prototype that absorbs CO2, produces O2 and biomass fuel, and improves building energy performance through enhancing heat transmission, solar heat gain and daylighting.


A series of prototypes will be constructed for performance and fabrication evaluation. Computer simulation will establish a theoretical framework to determine structural, thermal and daylighting performance. Simulated BIBE performance will be validated by laboratory testing.

Expected Results:

The team expects to determine the appropriate construction specifications for BIBE and to measure BIBE’s energy performance values – heat transmission, solar heat gain, and visible light transmittance - and its environmental benefits from a whole life cycle perspective.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 6 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

negative carbon building, integrated design, performance-based design, high performance building envelopes

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report