Tom Collins is an Associate Professor of Architecture at Ball State University. He holds Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Building Sciences degrees form Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York State and Master of Architecture (M.Arch) and PhD in Sustainable Architecture degrees from the University of Oregon. Tom has been a Registered Architect since 2007, a LEED Accredited Professional since 2005, a member of the American Institute of Architects since 2001, and currently sits on the board of the Society of Building Science Educators. His interests lie at the nexus of energy, building performance, and human behavior.
Tom’s research often utilizes mixed methods and includes a study on the influence of design, building operations, and occupant behavior on plug load electricity use in campus residence halls and a recent study of indoor environmental quality in active learning classrooms, and scholarship of teaching and learning related to zero energy and carbon neutral buildings. He twice received the King Medal for Architectural Research from the Architectural Research Centers Consortium. He has presented his work at national and international conferences including ARCC, EAAE, AASHE, ACEEE, ISIAQ, EDRA, RBDCC, and ZEB. He has contributed to publications such as the Green Studio Handbook and Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings.
He taught architecture courses at the Boston Architectural College from 2004-2008 and the University of Oregon from 2008-2015. Since arriving at Ball State, Tom has taught the environmental systems courses and undergraduate and graduate-level design studios, and courses in the interdisciplinary sustainability minor. In his teaching, he emphasizes green and net-zero energy design; integrated design thinking; hands-on learning; group collaboration; and community engagement. He has been a faculty advisor for 14 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Challenge competitions teams, and 4 of these teams are competition award winners. Tom was also the faculty co-lead for the Ball State's 2023 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Build Challenge entry called the Alley House. The project, a net-positive-energy, low-carbon, affordable, duplex home in Indianapolis, engaged more than 105 students, is seeking PHIUS (passive house) certification, and won the 1st Place Overall prize in the international competition.
His professional experience includes K-12 schools and high performance green laboratories. Notable projects include an award winning, LEED certified geochemistry facility for Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the initial design of the Harvard Allston Science Complex project (later renamed SEC), which involved an international integrated design team.