Zhenglai Shen

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair

Michael D Anderson

Committee Member

Hongyu Zhou

Committee Member

Yue Li

Committee Member

Nasim Uddin

Committee Member

Abdullahi Salman


Life cycle costing, Buildings--Energy conservation, Architecture and climate, Earthquake resistant design


Buildings provide shelters to it residents and its safety and sustainability are of great interests to our society. Over the last decade, the application of the performance-based earthquake engineering framework for building design has been gained popularity in high seismic intensity regions, such as Los Angeles. On the other hand, energy-saving features, such as high-performance glazing materials, have been increasingly used in both new buildings and building retrofitting practices. However, there is lacking a comprehensive methodological framework that holistically considers buildings’ structural demands due to natural hazards, e.g., earthquake, and energy-efficiency requirements of buildings within different climate zones, as well as their interactions on the building level. In this light, this research develops a two-stage-four-step Life Cycle Cost (LCC)-informed building design and decision-making framework, which aims to satisfy various design requirements and provides a quantitative guideline for building structural and envelope design based on the geographic location of the building and the associated climate conditions and natural hazard exposures. In the first stage, the LCC is used to co-design the building’s structural and envelope systems, where the LCC is quantified through using the RSMeans online database for construction cost, the Whitestone data for maintenance cost, the FEMA P-58 methodology for seismic loss, and whole building energy simulation is conducted using EnergyPlus for building energy consumption. Then, the second stage applies both payback period analysis (single metric) and probabilistic based multi-attribute utility theory (PBE-MAUT) (multiple metrics) for refined energy-saving feature options selection. The framework is applied to a series of case studies of archetype buildings located in Los Angeles, Memphis, and Boston with various hazards exposure and climate conditions. The archetype buildings vary with structural systems, exterior cladding types, and window glazing materials to extend the potential design alternatives. The results show that the structural enhanced options are preferred for buildings located in medium to high seismic intensity regions such as Los Angeles and Memphis, whilst the baseline building with spatial frame structure is selected for low seismic intensity region. In addition, high-performance glazing and pre-cast concrete (PCC) cladding are desired for all the studied regions with respect to LCC and life-cycle environmental impact (LCE).



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