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.
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.
CBE researchers are part of a research program on “Resilient Cooling for Buildings,” supported by an international association of governments, industry and researchers. The main objective is to support the rapid adoption of resilient, low-energy and low-carbon cooling systems for buildings. This work will also serve to help cities and communities better contend with climate-based and demand-based power outages.
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.
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.
Biophilia — humans’ innate love of nature — is an idea that has inspired wide-ranging research on the benefits of human connection with nature. So how do we translate this wealth of research knowledge into making buildings that capture the benefits of nature? CBE and SERA Architects are jointly developing a biophilia option for CBE’s occupant survey to evaluate the impact of biophilic features in existing workspaces.
During the 2018 fires, CBE used previously-installed sensors in two University buildings to understand and evaluate building resilience to urban scale air pollution, quantifying particle penetration to the indoors from outdoors. The low-cost Internet of Things (IoT) PM2.5 sensors were accompanied by a survey of the building occupants, with questions focused on changes in their behavior, perceived air quality, self-reported productivity and health symptoms.
Companies aspiring to sustainability and wellness have focused on managing workplace indoor environmental quality (IEQ), however undertaking IEQ measurements in a reliable manner can be challenging. In this post we discuss why continuous monitoring technologies are ideal for evaluating building IEQ performance.