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Energy Principles in Architectural Design

The oil crises of 1973 and 1979 resulted in far more emphasis on energy conservation and designs to minimize use of energy. Most of California’s licensed architects at that time had been educated in the era of mythical unlimited energy. In the late 1960s and even in 173, nuclear power was expected to be so economical that they wouldn’t even need to meter it. Forty-one nuclear power plants were authorized that year.  The U.S. was not a net oil importer, and the limits to oil reserves were not commonly considered.  Single-pane glazing was standard in California until the California Energy Commission adopted regulations in its Title 24 that required double-glazing beginning around the time of Dean’s guide.

Dean, then a professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, both wrote and illustrated this 85 page guide that lays out the basic knowledge about energy and architecture. While it was written 30 years ago, the principles have not changed, and the guide is a very handy reference for students and professional architects alike.

You can download the guide (~16MB) from, or you can request a hard copy from the California Energy Commission, 916-654-4287. The publication is now out of print, but the staff has recently made copies upon request.

Note: If you get this guide, send us your feedback at


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