Zhigang Shen

Zhigang Shen 

Associate Professor of Construction Engineering and Management
Contact Information:
113 NH
Lincoln: City Campus
(402) 472-9470
Mail Box: 113 NH, Lincoln, NE 68588-0500

  • Ph.D., Construction Management, University of Florida, 2007
  • M.S., Computer Engineering, University of Florida, 2003
  • M. Architecture, Tongji University, China, 1997
  • B. Engr., Architecture, Zhengzhou Institute of Technology, China, 1992

Areas of Research and Professional Interest
  1. Building Information Modeling (BIM) 
  2. Infrastructure Data Visualization and Management
  3. Sustainable Building Envelopes and Facility Management
  4. 3D Games in Innovative Engineering Education
Courses Taught
  • CNST 378/379 - Construction Estimating I/II
  • CNST 225 - Introduction to Building Information Modeling
  • CNST 440 - Building Information Modeling II
  • CNST 860 - Construction Visualization and Simulation

About Zhigang Shen

Dr. Shen’s research focuses on building information modeling, infrastructure data management, sustainable building envelopes, and innovative engineering education. As PI/Co-PIs, he was awarded more than $4M (self-portion $800k+) grants from research agencies such as NSF, EPA, DOE, DOL and NDOR. Up to date, he published 19 journal articles and 24 conference papers. He had 6 years industry experience in design and construction of large-scale commercial buildings and high-end residential buildings. He joined UNL in 2007 as an assistant professor after 2 years of teaching  in University of Wisconsin-Stout. In his spare time he enjoys many indoor / outdoor activities, such as swimming, hiking, jogging, bicycling, and skiing.


Past employers include the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Catalfumo Construction and Development, Eccostone Homes, the Weitz Company, John Portman & Associates, and Tianchen Chemical Engineering Corporation.

Honors and Awards

  1. 2011 Best Feature Article Award of ASCE journal of Leadership and Management in Engineering
  2. 2011 College of Engineering Faculty Service Award
  3. 1999-2003 Alumni Pre-doctoral Fellow, University of Florida


Grants and Contracts:
  1. "3D Bridge Condition Rating System", NDOR, (PI), 2013-2015
  2. "Collaborative Research: A Case-Based Multidimensional Virtual Environment (CMVE)", NSF (PI), 2011-2013
  3. "IMPACT-Trade Adjustment Assistance", US DOL (Co-PI), 2013-2015
  4. "Veterans Commissioning Training Program for Commercial-Healthcare Facilities", US DOE (PI), 2010-2013
  5. "Advanced Decentralized Water/Energy Design for Sustainable Infrastructure", US EPA (Co-PI), 2009-2014
  6. "Building Energy Efficient Homes for America (BEEHA)", US DOE (Co-PI), 2011-2012
  7. "Home Building Education Leadership Program (HELP)", NAHB (Co-PI), 2009-2012
  8. "Assessing Impacts of Mixed Reality Jobsite (MRJ)", DSAEC Seed Grant (PI), 2011-2013
  9. "Impact of Attic Design on Energy Performance of Residential Buildings", UNL Faculty Seed Grant (PI), 2009-2010
  10. "Building and Construction Virtual Simulation." UCARE (PI), 2010
  11. "Virtual Simulations of Medical Facility Renovation using BIM" UCARE (PI), 2010

Selected Publications

Journal Articles ( 1 Student/Post Doc ; *Corresponding Author):
  1. Wang, E1*, Shen, Z., Alpa, N., and Barry, N. (accepted) “Benchmarking Energy Performance of Residential Buildings Using Two-stage Multifactor Data Envelopment Analysis with Degree-day Based Simple-normalization Approach”. Journal of Energy Conversion and Management.  
  2. Shen, Z.*, Hassani, A.1, Shi, Q. (in press) “Construction time-cost optimization using Cobb-Douglas production function and GA.” Journal of Civil Engineering and Management.
  3. Wang, E1., Shen, Z.*, and Grosskopf, K. (2014) “Benchmarking energy performance of building envelopes through a selective residual-clustering approach using high dimensional dataset” Journal of Energy and Buildings. 75(), 10-22.  
  4. Shen Z.* and Wang, S.1 (2014). “Investigating self-cooling effects of ventilated attics under different roof and ambient temperatures in summer.” Journal of Civil Engineering and Management. 20(5), 674-685
  5. Erdogmus, E.*, Shen, Z., and Schaap, B. (2013). ”Review of BIM in Small-Scale Sustainable Design by François Lévy.” ASCE J. Archit. Eng., SPECIAL ISSUE: Emerging Trends of Sustainable Engineering, Design, and Construction, 217–218.
  6. Wang, E.1 and Shen, Z.* (2013) “A stochastic framework for estimating embodied energy in whole-building lifecycle assessments using a hybrid data quality indicator (DQI) and statistical approach.” J. of Cleaner Production. 43(), March 2013, 166-173
  7. Wang, E.1, and Shen, Z.* (2013).  “Stochastic lifecycle residential energy consumption prediction considering longitudinal uncertainties.” Journal of Civil Engineering and Management
  8. Shen, Z.*, Jensen, W., Wentz, T., and Fischer, B. (2012). “Project-based sustainable building education utilizing 3D BIM models.” Journal of  Education Science, 2(3), 136-149
  9. Wang, S.1, and Shen, Z.* (2012). “Impacts of ventilation ratio and vent balance on cooling load and airflow of naturally ventilated attics”, Journal of Energies, 5(9), 3218-3232.  
  10. Wang, E.1 and Shen, Z.*, Neal, J., Shi, J., Berryman, C., and Schwer, A. (2012). “An AHP-weighted Aggregated Data Quality Indicator (AWADQI) Approach for Estimating Embodied Energy of Building Materials”. Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 17(6), 764-77.
  11. Wang, S.1, Shen, Z.*, and Gu, L. (2012). “Numerical simulation of buoyancy-driven turbulent ventilation in attic space under winter conditions” Journal of Energy and Buildings. 47, 360–368.
  12. Wang, S.1, Shen, Z.* (2012) “Effects of roof pitch on airflow and heating load of sealed and vented attics for gable-roof residential buildings” Journal of Sustainability, 4(9), 1999-2021.
  13. Wang, S.1, Shen, Z.*, Gu, L. (2012). “The Impact of Roof Pitch and Ceiling Insulation on Cooling Load of Naturally-Ventilated Attics.” Journal of Energies, 5(7), 2178-2196.
  14. Shen, Z.* and Jensen, W. (2011). ”Civil Engineers as Master Builders and the Professionalization of Construction.” ASCE Leadership and Management in Engineering, 11(2), 169-181. 2011 Best Feature Article Award of the journal.
  15. Jensen, W.*, Fischer, B. and Shen, Z. (2011). “Limited Scope Permitting for Time-Sensitive Project Delivery Systems.” Journal of the American Professional Constructor
  16. Shen, Z.*, Jensen, W., Berryman, C., and Zhu Y. (2011). “A Comparative Study of Activity-based Construction Labor Productivity in the US and China.” ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering, 27(2), 116-124.
  17. Shen, Z.*, Issa, R R A (2010) “Quantitative evaluation of the BIM-assisted construction detailed cost Estimates.” Journal of Information Technology in Construction, 15(), 234-257.
  18. Jensen, W.*, Shen, Z., and Kluver, C. (2009) “Measuring Performance of Innovative Pavement Features.” Journal of the American Professional Constructor
  19. Shen, Z.*, Issa, R.A., Gu, L. (2007). “Semantic 3D CAD and its applications in construction industry - An outlook of construction data visualization.” Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 4781(), 461-467. 
Conference Papers/Abstracts:
  1. Luci, G.1, and Shen, Z. (2015). “ A critical review of recent progress on construction workspace planning using BIM” The CIB W78 conference 2015, October 27th-29th 2015, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  2. Shen, Z., Grosskopf, K., Lin, S.1 (2013).  “Investigating the potential of self-cooling cavity wall system in reducing buildings’ summer peak cooling load.” Third Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment, June 6-9, Osaka, Japan.
  3. Na, R..1, Lin, S.1, Shen, Z., Gu, L. (2013). “Impact of air leakage through recessed lighting fixtures on the energy performance of residential buildings-a case study”. The 3rd International Conference Central Europe towards Sustainable Building (CESB13), June 26 – 28, Prague, Czech Republic.
  4. Zhu, Y., Shen, Z. (2013). “Applying Structure, Behavior and Function (SBF) and Discrete Event Modeling to Construction Education: a Pilot Study” Associated Schools of Construction 49th Annual International Conference, April 10-13, 2013, San Luis Obispo, CA
  5. Wang, E1. and Shen, Z. (2012) “A Stochastic Markov Model for Projecting Life Cycle Building Energy”. 2012 International Conference on Construction and Real Estate Management, October 01- 02, Kansas City
  6. Shen, Z., Shamsi R.1 and Hassani, A.1 (2012). “A New Perspective for Construction Crashing Cost Analysis”. 2012 International Conference on Construction and Real Estate Management, October 01- 02, Kansas City
  7. Shen, Z., Jensen, W., Fischer, B. and Wentz, T. (2012). “Using project-based BIM to teach “what-if” scenarios in education of sustainable building design and construction” 2012 ASEE Annual Conference, June 9-13, San Antonio, TX
  8. Shen, Z. and Jiang L.1 (2012) “An augmented 3D mobile application for communication, collaboration and learning (CCL) of building systems”. 2012 ASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering, June 17-20, Clearwater,
  9. Wang, E.1 and Shen, Z. (2012).  “An Improved Uncertainty Estimating Model using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) Weighting Process in Aggregating Data Quality Indicators (DQI) for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Embodied-energy of Construction Materials”.  Construction Research Congress 2012, May 22-24, Lafayette, IN, 1840-1849
  10. Jiang, L.1, Shen, Z., Grosskopf, K., and Berryman, C. (2012). “A BIM based interactive 3D web environment for energy retrofit training”. Construction Research Congress 2012, May 22-24, Lafayette, IN, 1212-1221
  11. M. Hu; T. Zhang; J. Stansbury; M. Dahab; J. Shi; J. Neal; M. Alahmad; C. Berryman; H. Li; A. Schwer; and Shen, Z. (2011). “Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment of Water Reuse Strategies in Residential Buildings”. World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011, Palm Springs, California, United States, May 22-26, 1652-1662
  12. Zhu, Y. and Shen, Z. (2011) “Learning Construction Complexity by Visualizing Cases”.  Proceedings of the International Conference of Construction and Real Estate Management, Guangzhou, November
  13. Shen, Z. and Zhu Y. (2011). “Is visualization of engineering accidents or failure cases a good way to learn complex engineering systems?” the First World Engineering Education Flash Week, October, Lisbon, Portugal
  14. Derek Gardels, John Stansbury, Shannon Killion, Tian Zhang, Jill Neal, Mahmoud Alahmad, Charles Berryman, Siu Lau, Haorong Li, Avery Schwer, Jonathan Shi, Shen, Z. “Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment of Water Reuse Strategies in Residential Buildings” ASCE World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011, Palm Springs, California, May 22-26, 1652-1662.
  15. Shen, Z., and Zhu, Y. (2011). “Complex Engineering System Leaning through Study of Engineering Cases using 3D Animations” ASEE 2011 Annual Conference and Exposition, June 26-29, 2011, Vancouver, Canada
  16. Wang, E.2, and Shen, Z. (2011). “A Building LCA Case Study Using EcoTech and BIM Model.” Associated Schools of Construction 47th Annual International Conference, April 6-9,2011, Omaha, NE
  17. Mahmoud Alahmad, Wisam Nader, Jill Neal, Jonathan Shi, Chuck Berryman, Y. Cho, Siu-Kit Lau, H. Li, Avery Schwer, Shen, Z., John Stansbury, Tian Zhang, “Real Time Power Monitoring & integration with BIM,” in proceeding of 36th Annual conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronic Society, IECON’2010, 7-10 November, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
  18. M. A. Chaaban, M. Alahmad, J. Neal, J. Shi, C. Berryman, Y. Cho, S. Lau, H. Li, A. Schwer, Shen, Z., J. Stansbury, T. Zhang (2010). “Adaptive Photovoltaic System,” in proceeding of 36th Annual conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronic Society, IECON’2010, 7-10 November, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
  19. Hsu, K., Shen, Z., and Shi, J. (2009). “The idling cost rate of retaining equipment Proceedings”.  2009 Annual Conference - Canadian Society for Civil Engineering 3():1355-1363.
  20. Shen, Z., Jensen, W., Berryman, C. and Shi, Q. (2009) “Activity-Based Construction Labor Productivity in China and the US.”  Proceedings of the International Conference of Construction and Real Estate Management, Beijing, November 5-6
  21. Shen Z. and Issa R., (2006), "A Case Study of Construction Estimate Using IFCs Data Model", Proceedings of the 13th Rinker International Conference, Orlando, Florida, October.
  22. Shen, Z., Issa, R., O'Brien, W., and Flood, I. (2005),  “A Trade Construction Knowledge Module to Enable use of Design Component Data in Project Management”, Proceedings of ASCE the 2005 International Conference on Computing in  Civil Engineering, Cancun, Mexico, July 12-15, 1-10
  23. Shen, Z., Issa, R., O'Brien, W., and Flood, I. (2003). “A Model for Integrating Construction Design and Schedule Data”, ASCE Proceedings of the 4th Joint International Symposium on Information Technology In Civil Engineering, Nashville, Tennessee, November.
  24. Shen, Z., Issa, R., O'Brien, W., and Flood, I. (2003). “A proposed design component and schedule data integration model for construction”, Proceedings of the 10th European Group for Intelligent Computing in Engineering Workshop, Delft, The Netherlands, July 3-4, 66-75.
Book Chapter:
  1. O'Brien, W., Issa R., Shen, Z., and Xie, H. (2004), "Configurable environments: a vision for future project information technologies" in Kazi, S. (ed.) Knowledge Management in the Construction Industry: A Socio-technical Perspective, Idea Group Publishing, Hershey, PA 17033, USA, 339-358.

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