Now in its twelfth year, the Livable Buildings Award recognizes projects that demonstrate high occupant satisfaction, excellent design, and innovative operation strategies. This year, we are pleased to announce the Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center as the top winner, with an honorable mention for the Pomona College Seaver Laboratory and Andrew Science Hall.
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.
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.
The latest company to join CBE’s consortium, Aclima, has garnered global recognition as a leader in the application of sensor networks to provide environmental intelligence since coming out of stealth in 2015. Headquartered in San Francisco, the technology company provides information services from a unique sensing system powered by leading-edge environmental sensors, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
The latest company to join CBE’s industry consortium, Genentech has been leading biotechnology innovation for more than 40 years. Genentech discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. Headquartered in South San Francisco, the company also has additional facilities in California, Oregon and Kentucky, with more than 14,000 employees.
Two proposals from the Center for the Built Environment were recently selected for funding through 2017 research grants from the Siebel Energy Institute. These proposals, to be funded in the 2017 term, leverage technologies from the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) in buildings, including data analytics, advanced sensing, occupant engagement and energy performance in new and innovative ways.