As we gear up for our year-end rituals and activities, here at CBE we can take a moment to reflect on our efforts during 2023, and remember our purpose — to contribute towards making a more sustainable and equitable world. We are pleased to report on such wide ranging work, and also note that this would not be possible without the participation of CBE’s Industry Partners. We are grateful for their support and the ongoing contributions of our colleagues, students and affiliates. We wish you all the best for 2024, and in this post share some of our major accomplishments and milestones.
The 2023 Livable Buildings Award has been awarded to VMDO Architects for their Paul Jennings Residence Hall, a 500-bed student housing facility at James Madison University completed in 2019. This project is the first residential building to be recognized by this award program, held annually since 2007. The awards also recognized the Bay Area Offices for SERA Architects with an honorable mention. SERA designed a full-floor office in a historic building in downtown Oakland, Calif., with a focus on creating a flexible and healthy workspace.
CBE’s controlled environment chamber has been used for research leading to hundreds of journal papers, including keystone work related to human response, indoor environments and mechanical systems in buildings and automobile cabins. A major renovation was completed this fall, updating obsolete systems and failing equipment that was hindering important research operations. This milestone was celebrated in a ribbon cutting ceremony and happy hour before CBE’s fall Industry Advisory Board meeting. In this post we acknowledge the recent contributors, and discuss past work and future directions.
CBE is one of 30 research testbeds supporting the California Test Bed Initiative, a lab-based commercialization development program for innovators and entrepreneurs working to bring early to mid-stage clean energy concepts to market. CalTestBed will award vouchers worth up to $300,000 to test and validate candidate technologies at one of nearly 30 testbeds across the UC system and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Under this program, CBE has completed voucher-based research for two emerging cleantech companies.
In this Centerline we introduce two rising stars from CBE’s research team, Akihisa (Aki) Nomoto and Matt Roberts, the most recent postdoctoral scholars to join our center. Aki’s work reinforces CBE’s leadership on thermal comfort in complex environments based on human physiology. Matt brings to CBE extensive expertise in life-cycle assessment (LCA) methods, and will initially focus on the embodied carbon impacts of MEP systems.
As we reflect on the events of 2022, we are encouraged by the return to normal that is underway, as the most challenging aspects of Covid-19 recede. Here at CBE we brought meetings and events back to the office, we held Industry Advisory Board meetings with in-person and virtual options, we welcomed new industry partners, new staff, and launched new research directions.
A technology campus in France has received the Livable Buildings Award for 2022 from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment. This year’s winner, Arm France, is the first award winner outside of North America. The design was developed based on LEED and WELL building standards in order to provide a healthful, flexible and sustainable workplace. This annual award program recognizes excellence in sustainable design and user satisfaction as measured by CBE’s Occupant Survey.
Wildfires in the western United States have been increasing in frequency and magnitude in recent decades, resulting in poor air quality that constitutes a major environmental risk factor for human health and mortality. Researchers at CBE have created a novel software tool for smart thermostats to improve the air quality inside homes at times when outside air becomes unhealthy during wildfires.
We recently learned the sad news that our dear friend and colleague of many years, Tom Webster, passed away at the age of 80. Tom’s life was celebrated at a memorial on April 23rd at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club, attended by family members, friends, colleagues and former students. The many stories and tributes shared that day are a testament to Tom’s many contributions to our work and community, as so many people spoke passionately of the ways that he helped and connected with them in a meaningful and selfless manner.
New Study Throws Cold Water on Widely Accepted Relationship Between Temperature and Work Performance
The results of a new study challenge an industry standard which cited an optimal indoor temperature to improve work performance. The study followed the methods of previous research, but used additional data and rigorous statistical methods. The results found no evidence for a relationship between work performance and temperatures commonly found in offices, and none that should be adopted as an industry recommendation.