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 Millikan Science Building.
Category: #thermal comfort
We launched a new suite of free and publicly available online resources to facilitate academic and professional studies of thermal comfort in buildings. These tools can be used to inform questions about thermal comfort, and to encourage the design of climate-responsive and comfortable low energy (and ZNE) buildings.
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.
In March, CBE’s research team received news of a successful proposal led by the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute to form a new California Energy Product Evaluation (Cal-EPE) Hub. The objective of the Hub is to evaluate commercially available technologies that are relevant to institutional and commercial customer procurement processes, including products related to energy efficiency, renewable distributed generation, and distributed storage.
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.
This spring, CBE welcomes global HVAC manufacturer Daikin as one of its newest industry members. Having yet to fully establish themselves in North America, you could be forgiven for not recognizing their brand. However, with annual sales of over 17 billion dollars, Daikin is indeed a global leader in air conditioning equipment.
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.
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.
CBE Director Edward Arens, PhD, came to UC Berkeley in 1980 and soon founded the Building Science Group. In this interview he reflects on major milestones in the formation of CBE’s organization and contributions.