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.
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.
The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged the restaurant industry, forcing many beloved institutions to close, while many have pivoting to take-out service and outdoor dining only. While we rally to support our favorite eateries, colder climates present some serious challenges to patio dining. In this Centerline post we borrow ideas from CBE’s experience with prototyping and testing innovative and energy-efficient ways to help people comfortably dine al fresco as we get through a dark and cold pandemic winter.
An international team of researchers led by CBE has devised a new method for evaluating thermal comfort inside buildings over extended periods of time. The new index, one of many created and tested by the team, has been demonstrated to be a significant improvement over existing indices being used in building design and operation.
Imagine an ice cream parlor that offers only one flavor of ice cream, one chosen by scientists based on what an ‘average’ person wants. While this idea seems absurd, a similar logic has been used in establishing standards for thermal comfort in buildings. A group of CBE staff, industry partners and others have developed a revision to thermal comfort standards that acknowledges the variability in human comfort preferences.
Using an extensive trove of thermal comfort research data, CBE’s research team recently published a set of ‘nudges’ to the existing adaptive comfort standards to improve comfort in commercial buildings while potentially reducing energy use. This work updates the landmark study from 1998 by Gail Brager and Richard de Dear on the Adaptive Comfort Model (ACM), which demonstrated that people in naturally ventilated buildings were more comfortable with seasonal temperature variation compared to people in air-conditioned buildings.
Working From Home During the Covid-19 Crisis: Window Views May Help Emotional States, Productivity and Comfort
Millions of people are working at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19, creating stress and impacting our well-being and productivity. Science shows that time spent in nature may improve our health and emotions, however, when we are not able to be in nature physically, we may derive benefits simply by access to windows with views. A study recently published by CBE found that a view from a window has positive impacts on emotion, cognitive performance and thermal comfort.
CBE recently launched an online tool for designing with ceiling fans, making it easier for designers to create highly energy efficient and comfortable spaces. The tool was created based on years of research that have demonstrated that ceiling fans can keep a person cool while using only a fraction of the energy required by air conditioning.
CBE researchers, students and visiting scholars will present recent findings and design tools at the 2020 ASHRAE Winter Conference on February 1-5 in Orlando.
Building standards and conventional practice are all about ’reducing the negative‘ — but what if the goal is to ’enhance the positive‘ instead? Aiming to create environments that are not only comfortable and healthy, but are connected to nature, provide a sense of place, and are a delight to be in. Designing for experience requires us to embrace a broader view of experiential aesthetics, going beyond the primacy of vision to recognize broader sensual qualities that contribute to the beauty and memorability of space.