Open-plan office spaces have become widely adopted across many industries, driven in part by a range of expected benefits including reduced real estate costs, more flexibility, and enhanced communication and collaboration between employees. However, the evolution to ubiquitous open offices has not been without growing pains; they have inspired derision from some office workers, and have provided feedstock for journalists’ workplace exposés. Read more
The connection between sensors, devices and humans is at the heart of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) in commercial buildings, and represents intriguing research opportunities for Jovan Pantelic, who joined CBE as a research specialist in the fall of 2016. As sensors become more advanced and lower in cost, it may enable the type of “ubiquitous” sensing that has been anticipated already for many years. Read more
Twenty years ago this spring, Berkeley faculty and research staff hosted CBE’s inaugural advisory board meeting with representatives of ten founding partner firms. This new consortium, formed under the auspices of the National Science Foundation Industry/University Research Program, created the initial roadmap for research that has continued for two decades, yielding a broad and valuable body of knowledge, innovation, publications, and industry impacts. (The image above is from a 1999 meeting.) Read more
CBE Director Ed Arens, came to UC Berkeley in 1980 and soon founded the Building Science Group. In this interview he reflects on major milestones in the formation of CBE’s organization and contributions.
Q: How did you first become interested in the research and work you are doing here?
Ed Arens: This really goes back, before anyone in the U.S. really talked about energy or building science. It was when I was in architecture school in 1963, and I read a book called Design with Climate by Victor Olgyay. It was before houses had air conditioning, and it attempted to systematize passive cooling design. Olgyay’s line of thought about climate’s fundamental impact on design was soon to be on its way out. I was taken by the aesthetic potential of the ideas presented in the book, and it made me dissatisfied with my architectural education. Read more
Thermostat Wars: Office Comfort and Controversy
A string of articles and broadcasts in the mainstream media focused on comfort in the workplace, in many cases engaging with faculty and researchers at CBE to provide expert insights. While the idea of building industry sexism may provide a hook for readers, some of this coverage exaggerates the influence of gender on workplace comfort. Read more
Doing Well and Doing Good: Pro Bono Design and Community Support
Themes of social inequality are prevalent in today’s media, from the growing gap between the wealthy and the middle class, to the fatal shootings by police of unarmed men and children that set off angry protests across the U.S. While such challenges are daunting, architects and engineers are problem solvers by nature, and many are applying their professional expertise to assist disadvantaged groups in their communities. Read more