RMI Innovation Center

2018 Livable Buildings Award Winner Announced

Now in its twelfth year, the Livable Buildings Award recognizes projects that demonstrate high occupant satisfaction, excellent design, and innovative operation strategies. This year, we are pleased to announce the Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center as the top winner, with an honorable mention for the Pomona College Millikan Science Building. These buildings, along with all of the finalists, received highly positive feedback from the buildings’ users, as demonstrated by the CBE Occupant Survey. In fact, these buildings received the first and second highest rankings for satisfaction with the buildings overall.  Read more

Technology Innovator TEECOM Joins UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment

As sensors, networks, and smart devices create increasingly interdependent building systems, collaborative research between design disciplines becomes vital for advancing the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. TEECOM, an international building technology consulting firm, was formed to embody a culture of multidisciplinary research. Joining the Center for the Built Environment consortium is a natural extension of the firm’s work. Read more

CBE Welcomes New Partner RMW

Since forming in 1970, full-service design firm RMW Architecture & Interiors has been dedicated to shaping responsive and innovative environments for academic, civic, industrial, life science, manufacturing, and workplace spaces. As a mid-size firm of 86 employees, with studios in San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento, they are dedicated to advancing connections between people and place, buildings and well-being, passion and process, and sustainability and possibility. Read more

SmithGroupJJR Joins UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment

SmithGroupJJR, one of the world’s preeminent integrated design firms, joined the CBE consortium in April 2018. Working across a network of 12 offices in the U.S. and China, their team of 1,300 experts is committed to excellence in strategy, design and delivery. The firm partners with forward-looking clients to maximize opportunities, minimize risk and solve their most complex problems. SmithGroupJJR creates exceptional design solutions for healthcare, science and technology organizations, higher education and cultural institutions, urban environments, diverse workplaces, mixed-use and waterfront developments, and parks and open spaces. Read more

New Partner PAE: Collaborating to Create Better Environments

Engineers have a reputation for complicating things, but the folks at PAE like to keep it simple: People and nature are the driving forces behind their work, both inside and out. PAE designs high-performing buildings that keep people comfortable, healthy, and productive inside, while restoring the natural world outside.

This approach makes PAE an ideal partner for CBE’s industry consortium. As Principal Alan Shepherd points out, “We are excited for the opportunity to be kept abreast of the latest research in occupant comfort and wellbeing, and let this information inform and inspire our designs, as well as help our firm’s up-and-coming engineers learn.”

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CBE and Engineering Leader Sanken to Collaborate on Radiant Cooling Technologies

This April, CBE welcomed to its consortium Sanken, a Japan-based engineering leader that will collaborate with researchers at CBE and overseas on radiant cooling technologies. This new collaboration builds on Sanken’s efforts that span several decades to innovate and provide customers with reliable and advanced systems and facilities. Read more

Quinn Evans Architects Joins CBE Consortium

Quinn Evans Architects (QEA) joined CBE’s research consortium in spring 2018. With a diverse portfolio of historic, cultural, educational, and urban revitalization projects, QEA helps their clients realize context-sensitive, community-oriented designs that address immediate needs as well as long term resilience and stewardship objectives. For 35 years, QEA has specialized in the stewardship of existing places — from nationally known cultural and educational institutions, to local schools, theaters, and community centers. In this context of stewardship, they manage change to provide a physical connection to the generations that care, manage, and experience these extraordinary places. Their work is rooted in developing a deep understanding of existing places and is enhanced by a full complement of tools and technology that enable high-performance design solutions that are focused on creating meaningful and memorable connections between people and places.   Read more

Visualization of solar load on a driver

Comfort in Buildings, and Vehicles Too

The emerging trend toward smart electric vehicles is creating new opportunities for synergistic innovations that are applicable to both buildings and cars. For example, the Tesla Powerwall, which grew out of automobile battery development, now offers a way for buildings to be more grid responsive. Likewise, model-based control concepts, greatly advanced by the automotive sector, are now being tested in the control of complex commercial buildings. These synergies, what we might call the building-automotive nexus, are also reflected in CBE’s body of research on thermal comfort.  Read more

Japan-based Daikin Joins CBE

This spring, CBE welcomes a global HVAC manufacturer as one of its newest industry members. Having yet to fully establish themselves in North America, you could be forgiven for not recognizing the Daikin brand. However, with annual sales of over 17 billion dollars, Daikin is indeed a global leader in air conditioning equipment.

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CBE Panel Session Explores Innovative Methods for Monitoring Indoor Environments

An expected benefit of the Internet of Things (IoT) in buildings will come from an improved ability to monitor indoor environments in ways that lead to actionable insights. A panel session hosted by UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) explored three innovative methods to monitor buildings using the latest in sensing and communicating technologies. The ideas range from futuristic to immediately applicable, with a focus on measuring CO2. Understanding CO2 concentrations in buildings is important, as several recent studies suggest that high levels of the gas may have negative effects on our cognitive performance, yet there are challenges to measuring it in a reliable and comprehensive manner.  Read more

ZNE Symposium 2017 October Banner

Symposium on Zero Net Energy Buildings and Beyond: Balancing Building and Grid Objectives

In a zero-net energy world, operation of both buildings and the electric grid need to be more flexible and responsive. This symposium explored the interaction of ZNE buildings, DERs and the increasingly renewable-rich electrical grid. It brought together engineering and design professionals, policy experts, researchers and other thought leaders to address how recent successes are changing existing ZNE paradigms, and how our policies, building energy standards, and aspirational ‘Big Bold Energy Strategies’ should evolve to deliver deep greenhouse gas reductions and a healthy economy in the next decade. Read more

Nine Radiant Case Study Buildings Demonstrate Energy Efficiency and Occupant Satisfaction

As part of a four-year study on the design and operation of radiant systems, CBE in collaboration with the New Buildings Institute (NBI) and TRC Energy Services have completed case studies of nine commercial buildings that demonstrate good performance in terms of both energy performance and occupant satisfaction in buildings with radiant systems. These include commercial, government, and higher education buildings, and all but one were built, or underwent major renovations, since 2010. The projects represent diverse approaches to radiant system design, including in-slab and ceiling panel solutions. Eight projects are located in western U.S. states, and one in British Columbia.  Read more

Wells Fargo Joins CBE Consortium

Wells Fargo, a company known for their leadership in the financial services industry, is the latest company to join CBE’s industry consortium. Their focus on sustainability has been a priority for over 10 years. They built their first LEED certified branch in 2008, and include LEED certification as a basic standard for all new builds, major renovations, and space acquisitions. However, LEED is not the only thing they are focused on; they have committed to an ambitious set of operational goals to be achieved by the year 2020. Read more

Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics

Livable Buildings Award Winners Demonstrate Excellence in Indoor Spaces and Sustainability

Four buildings that showcase sustainable design and provide high quality spaces for work and study have been recognized as part of the annual Livable Buildings Award, a program of UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE). Although the four projects represent diverse building types, they all share success in providing indoor environments that achieve the highest levels of occupant satisfaction, as measured by CBE’s Occupant Survey. Read more

Interface Engineering Chatham University Eden Hall Campus

ZNE Design Leader Interface Engineering Rejoins CBE Consortium

After a short hiatus, Interface Engineering rejoined CBE’s industry consortium this spring. With the firm’s emphasis on low-energy integrated design and creative collaboration, Interface’s participation will add significant value to CBE’s membership community.  Read more

Aclima Mobius Illustration

Meet CBE’s Newest Partner, Environmental Intelligence Provider Aclima

The latest company to join CBE’s consortium, Aclima, has garnered global recognition as a leader in the application of sensor networks to provide environmental intelligence since coming out of stealth in 2015. Headquartered in San Francisco, the technology company provides information services from a unique sensing system powered by leading-edge environmental sensors, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. This platform provides actionable insights for buildings, communities, cities and industry. Aclima’s combined focus on environmental quality and technology development makes it a welcome and fitting addition to CBE’s consortium of building industry leaders.  Read more

NREL's ZNE Research Support Facility

ZNE and Passive Survivability at LF17

At the Living Future 17 “unConference” that took place recently in Seattle, CBE research staff collaborated with two principals from Integral Group on a panel session that explored new developments and synergies that exist when designing for zero-net energy and passive survivability. The session included speakers Dave Ramslie and John Andary, both Principals with Integral Group, and Prof. Gail Brager and David Lehrer (as moderator) of CBE.  Read more

Symposium on Resilient Design for Buildings, Communities and Cities: May 3, 2017

Dangers from climate change, more frequent extreme weather events and resulting power outages represent growing concerns for government agencies, building owners and design professionals. This session explored how stakeholders are addressing resilience at multiple scales, presenting tools and design strategies at the scale of individual buildings; and ideas for infrastructure, policy and community-building for cities and communities. The session also touched on the inherent synergies between resiliency, sustainability and social equity.

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Genentech Building 35

Biotech Leader Genentech Joins CBE Consortium

The latest company to join CBE’s industry consortium, Genentech has been leading biotechnology innovation for more than 40 years. Genentech discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. Headquartered in South San Francisco, the company also has additional facilities in California, Oregon and Kentucky, with more than 14,000 employees.  Read more

Saint Gobain North American Headquarters

CBE Welcomes Industry Leaders Saint-Gobain, TRC and Western Allied Mechanical

Over the past year, CBE welcomed three new members to its industry consortium. Representing manufacturing, engineering and construction, these companies reflect the diversity of CBE industry consortium, and provide the services and products needed to provide high-performing and resource-efficient buildings and places.  Read more