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.
CBE research has quantified what we all know intuitively: ceiling fans can provide acceptable comfort at temperatures that otherwise would be stifling. This enables passive solutions in milder climates, and may reduce the reliance on air conditioning in climates where passive solutions alone are not sufficient.
The emerging trend toward smart electric vehicles is creating new opportunities for synergistic innovations that are applicable to both buildings and cars. Model-based control concepts, greatly advanced by the automotive sector, are now being tested in the control of complex commercial buildings. These synergies, what we might call the building-automotive nexus, are also reflected in CBE’s body of research on thermal comfort.
The emerging Internet of Things offers opportunities to improve how we design, measure and operate buildings. CBE’s research team conducted a six-month field demonstration of a system using IoT-connected heated and cooled office chairs. Results demonstrated high levels of comfort seen in few buildings. In addition, the data from occupants’ use of the chairs can be used to predict thermal comfort more accurately than methods previously available.
Every day we leave traces in our wake that provide clues as to who we are. The way we talk, the music, movies, and books we like, the possessions we own, and even the spaces (both virtual and physical) we craft and maintain shed light on not only who we are today, but also who we will likely be in the future.
An important goal at CBE is to provide tools to assist industry professionals to create energy efficient and comfortable buildings. In 2013 we first launched the online CBE Thermal Comfort Tool as a way to help practitioners predict thermal comfort in buildings, based on ASHRAE Standard 55. We are excited to announce expanded capabilities in the most recent version of the tool.
CBE’s “Changing the Rules” Demonstrates an Occupant-Based Paradigm for HVAC Control for Energy Savings and Improved Thermal Comfort
CBE’s research team recently completed a project with goals of making buildings occupant-responsive in real time, and addressing outdated rules-of-thumb that lead to poor energy performance and occupant comfort. Findings demonstrated that “personal comfort” chairs led to comfort satisfaction for nearly all test subjects. The project team also developed and tested innovative HVAC control methods offering significant energy saving potential.
An expected benefit of IoT in buildings will come from an improved ability to monitor indoor environments in ways that lead to actionable insights. A panel session hosted by CBE explored three innovative methods to monitor buildings using the latest in sensing and communicating technologies. The ideas range from futuristic to immediately applicable, with a focus on measuring CO2.