Enhancing Sustainability and Functionality: Emory University's Campus Life Center Case Study

01 Project Overview

At 117,00 sq. ft., the Campus Life Center on the Emory University campus caters to the growing space demands, allows flexibility and efficient dining services, technology and infrastructure upgrades, and  more room for student organizations and gathering space. With the University’s commitment to sustainability, the Campus Life Center has high performance targets.

02 Climate Analysis

Climate Data – A basic understanding of the existing climate conditions is vital for making performance design decisions. The following climate studies are created `automatically using cove.tool.​​

climate analysis

03 Energy Analysis

A basic understanding of target values is key to comparing performance design decisions.

EUI – Expressed as energy per square foot per year, knowing the EUI values of design decisions and other iterations, one can get the best value for performance. Below the design team used cove.tool to find their buildings benchmarks in order to inform and guide the team towards setting their own energy targets. The USA national median for EUI was 51 kBtu/sqft/yr.


04 Daylight and Glare Analysis

Daylight quantity and quality is a critical part of any building. It becomes especially critical when studying a campus center with students. Many studies have linked daylight to productivity and wellness. Cove.tool allowed the team to use the Revit model export for the following daylight and glare studies.

daylight and glare analysis

05 Facade Studies

The ability to rapidly test out varying facade design and compare glazing percentage, overhangs vs fins, window sizes and location was critical for the facade design. The below study created using cove.tool’s rapid facade prototyping features allows users to do that in minutes.

facade optimization

06 Water Use Analysis

Being a part of the campus meant studying not just indoor water use for low flow fixtures, but also outdoor water use. This meant grey water re-use strategies, storm water capture, rain water harvesting, irrigation and more. The cove.tool water feature had not been launched at the time of this project. This feature allows users to study indoor and outdoor water use for their project as shown  below.

water use intensity

07 Cost Vs Energy Optimization

Being a integrated team with the contractors on board at early stages of design, cost was a critical component of decision making throughout the design. This cost was able to be optimized using cove.tool. cove.tool uses advanced algorithms to optimize for first cost and assists in making rigorous metric based decisions on cost and energy.


As seen in the diagram above, many decisions including, window type, wall insulation, roof insulation, HVAC, Photovoltaic panels, shading strategy and sensors had multiple options that needed to be tested. This leads to over 20,000 possible combinations, each with a different energy use and adifferent cost. Cove.tool allowed studying these and finding the most cost optimal way to get to the project completed.


​In the graph above, each vertical line represents one decision. The blue line represents every possible combination and these can be filtered based on potential LEED points, EUI, Energy Savings, Payback and First Cost Premiums. For a project with a target payback less than 10 years and EUI target of 45  or below.

optimization bundle

The design team used cove.tool to find the absolute lowest cost option.


cove.tool Insights