Physics of sustainable development

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Bioclimatic house

Course on Physics of Sustainable Development

An option of the Bachelor of fundamental physics at Paris-Saclay University

Lecturers :

Syllabus: Course built on miscellaneous almost independent chapters, followed by hands-on project, either experimental, bibliographical or modelling.

2023-2024: Approximate Schedule (on Thursdays 10:30-12:30, room ???, hbar building)

  • 25/01 : Welcome to the Anthropocene + intro Climate (GR) + discussion project (CM & GR)
  • 01/02 : Climate (GR) + brainstorming project
  • 08/02 : Principles of bioclimatic construction (CM) + project definition
  • 15/02 : Energy in buildings (CM) + review of project definition
  • 22/02 : Holidays
  • 29/02 : Energy and society (GR)
  • 07/03 : Thermal considerations in the building and the city (CM) + return of pre-project
  • 14/03 : written exams (GR)
  • 21/03 : Project (CM) - Room 407-408
  • 28/03 : Project (CM & GR) - Room 407-408
  • 04/04 : Project (CM & GR) - Room 407-408
  • 11/04 : Project (CM & GR) - Room 407-408
  • 18/04 : Holidays
  • 25/04 : Project (CM & GR) - Room 407-408
  • 02/05 : Project restitution (CM & GR) 30min per group


In this section, you will find some methodological tools that may be useful in class or for your projects.

Determining the location's climate

  • Download the Excel file for visualizing the meteorological situation of a site : [1]
  • Go to Iowa Environmental Mesonet
  • Select the Network corresponding to the country the city belongs to and the Station closest to the city.
  • Select «All Available» in the step 2.
  • In step 3, select the desired date range. Warning: beyond 2 years data range, the calculations may take a long time.
  • Select «Coordinated Universal Time» in step 4.
  • In step 5, use the following parameters:
    • Data format: «Tab delimited (no DEBUG headers)
    • Include Latitude + Longitude: «No»
    • How to represent missing data: «Use blank/empty string»
    • How to represent Trace reports: «Use blank/empty string»
    • «Save result data to file on computer»
    • Leave the default option in step 6.
  • Click on «Get Data» in step 7.
  • Open Meteorological_Conditions.xlsx and go to the «Donnees» worksheet. Suppress all data if this worksheet is not empty and replace it with the data from the downloaded file. Check that the decimal separator is «.» and not «,».
  • Go to the «Precipitation_data» worksheet and look for the weather station closest to your site. Determine the line number corresponding to the nearest station. If several occurences of the same weather station appear, look a the corresponding values in column G «Statistic Description» and choose the line corresponding to «Mean Monthly».
  • Click on «Calculer». Warning: The calculation may take a few minutes. You have now set everything you need for the different graphs that are in the various worksheets.

Determining the solar irradiation on a given site

  • Go to Global Solar Atlasand select your site.
  • Scroll down the right panel and click on «Open detail».
  • You can download the information in an Excel file.

Determining a site's PV potential


  • Books:

Books can usually be found on the internet. If you cannot access one specific book, please let us know.

    • A Green Vitruvius, V. Brophy and J. O. Lewis, Earthscan. pdf

Students' projects 2022-2023

  • Angèle Bourdeaux & Luc David & Benoît Froissart : Solar Oven

Students' projects 2021-2022

Students' projects 2020-2021

Students' projects 2019-2020