Overview of research programs:

Our Research Portfolio

The Center’s portfolio of research projects has been developed based on industry partner needs, and represents relevant and timely topics in building science research.

Today’s Challenges to the Building Industry

New technologies allow today’s buildings to be more efficient and responsive to occupant needs than ever before. A challenge to the building industry is to understand the opportunities offered by these new technologies and learning how best to apply them. In addition, detailed information on building performance rarely gets back to design and development teams, leading to a situation in which many building industry professionals make economic and design decisions with insufficient feedback from experience, or input from objective research.

In 1997, a group of industry and government leaders teamed up with faculty and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley to address these challenges. This effort led to the creation of the Center for the Built Environment (CBE), a collaborative research organization serving a consortium of firms and organizations committed to improving the performance of commercial buildings. Under the leadership of Director Edward Arens, CBE has grown and matured, and today CBE faculty, researchers, and graduate students are actively involved in a wide range of projects of relevance to the building industry. CBE's research is catagorized into the following five project areas:

1. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

CBE has developed methods to measure the performance of occupied buildings in terms of occupant comfort, workplace efficiency, and building operations.

Learn more about our IEQ research >>

2. Building HVAC Systems

Advanced HVAC systems provide opportunities for energy savings and benefits to occupants.

Learn more about our HVAC research >>

3. Building Envelope Systems

CBE is developing tools and criteria for evaluating facade performance in terms of occupant comfort and energy efficiency.

Learn more about our envelope research >>

4. Human Interactions

New information technologies provide ways to optimize the performance of building systems.

Learn more about our human interactions research >>

5. Sustainability, Whole Building Energy, and Other Topics

CBE is evaluating broader implications of commercial building design, construction, and operations.

Learn more about our sustainability and whole building research >>


Occupant IEQ Survey

CBE has developed specialized tools to evaluate building and workplace performance.


CBE conducts field studies to evaluate design strategies and building technologies.


CBE’s research program on underfloor air distribution (UFAD) is highly regarded in the building industry.