This spring CBE’s research team was joined by post-doctoral researcher Thomas Parkinson, a leading expert on thermal perception in dynamic environments. Thomas earned his Ph.D. at the University of Sydney where he studied with long-standing CBE research collaborator Prof. Richard de Dear. He later became a lecturer there until his journey east to UC Berkeley. In this post we learn about Thomas’ plans and experiences so far with CBE. Read more
Project Scientist Fred Bauman recently received the ASHRAE Fellow award, a recognition for those who have distinguished themselves in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. His contributions to ASHRAE and the broader industry are based on the extensive research on underfloor air distribution (UFAD) that he directed at CBE, leading to deeper knowledge and guidance for these advanced HVAC systems. More recently, he has led a similar effort within CBE to address thermally massive radiant systems. Learn more about his research and what he has been working on over the past 30+ years at UC Berkeley. Read more
More than ten years ago the California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) established aspirational goals of Zero Net Energy (ZNE) for all new residential construction by 2020 and all new nonresidential and highrise residential construction by 2030 with half of existing buildings being renovated to ZNE by 2030.
Over the past decade these goals have evolved and the steps to achieve them have been discussed, debated, and fleshed out. The definition and implementation path for ZNE, the metrics to be employed, and role of the electric grid and utility infrastructure have all evolved over time and continue to evolve. More recently, awareness has grown that ZNE is not a goal in itself, but simply a step towards deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonization of the California economy is now seen as essential to achieving the state’s 2050 greenhouse gas targets.
A group of exceptional speakers will discuss topics related to state policy as well as building design and operations essential to moving to ZNE and beyond toward an efficient, low-carbon California. Read more
In March, CBE’s research team received the welcome news of a successful proposal led by the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute, with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley, to form a new California Energy Product Evaluation (Cal-EPE) Hub. The objective of the Cal-EPE Hub is to evaluate commercially available technologies that are relevant to institutional and commercial customer procurement processes, including products related to energy efficiency, renewable distributed generation, and distributed storage. This work will lead to a buyer’s guide directed toward potential customers hoping to make more informed decisions. Read more
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.
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
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
Two reports released from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of radiant cooling and heating systems, a promising HVAC technology that is becoming increasingly used in commercial buildings in North America, including in a high proportion of ultra-low and zero-net energy buildings. These reports reveal how such systems work in practice, analyzing comprehensive data from a large group of buildings in operation. Read more
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
CBE Director Edward Arens and Research Specialist Hui Zhang made a visit to China this summer to explore new research opportunities with several leading universities and a developer of residential towers. The trip was organized by former CBE visiting scholars who made important contributions to CBE’s work, who are now developing new research laboratories and programs China, leading research of relevance to CBE and its industry partners. Read more
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
Last fall we were impressed by a presentation by Ali Ghahramani, who at the time was completing his PhD dissertation in engineering at USC, related to adaptive sensing and learning for human-centered HVAC operations, using human subject test data. Ali’s technical abilities and the relevance of his studies made him an ideal addition to CBE’s research team, and he joined us this spring as a post-doctoral researcher. Read more
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
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
Kyle Konis received a Ph.D in Architecture with UC Berkeley’s Building Science Program in 2011. He is now an Assistant Professor of Architecture at USC, and recently completed a book, co-authored with Stephen Selkowitz, Effective Daylighting With High-Performance Facades, Emerging Design Practices. In our interview he discusses how he is working to bridge the gap between building science research and design practice. Read more
Two proposals from the Center for the Built Environment were recently selected for funding through 2017 research grants from the Siebel Energy Institute. These proposals, to be funded in the 2017 term, leverage technologies from the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) in buildings, including data analytics, advanced sensing, occupant engagement and energy performance in new and innovative ways. Read more
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
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 Edward Arens, PhD, 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. Read more