We recently learned the sad news that our dear friend and colleague of many years, Tom Webster, passed away at the age of 80. Tom’s life was celebrated at a memorial on April 23rd at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club, attended by family members, friends, colleagues and former students. The many stories and tributes shared that day are a testament to Tom’s many contributions to our work and community, as so many people spoke passionately of the ways that he helped and connected with them in a meaningful and selfless manner.
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.
Two members of CBE’s research team have received recognition for their contributions from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE): Edward Arens, CBE’s director and professor emeritus of architecture; and Thomas Parkinson, an assistant professional researcher. In addition, several active and past members of CBE’s industry consortium also received recognition.
As we approach the end of 2021, we pause to reflect on the events of the past twelve months. Although we have all endured a second year of a global pandemic, we are encouraged by so much progress that is cross-cutting among academic, business and government sectors. In this year-end post we summarize on how we adapted to challenges and look forward to the promise of 2022.
Discovery Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, has earned the 2021 Livable Building Award from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment. A program jury from CBE’s building industry consortium lauded how the “purposeful design of the building supports students and teachers by creating a diverse learning environment with seemingly endless ways to engage students.” The project is also one of the first certified zero-energy building schools nationwide.
Hurricanes, wildfires, and floods produce dramatic images of destruction, but heatwaves cause more deaths in the U.S. each year. Research and new tools help us understand how fans can provide resiliency during extreme heat events. Fans may use 10 to 100 times less energy than air conditioning, reducing the impact on power grids during these events.
CBE’s research activities provide a unique training ground for UC Berkeley students to learn advanced skills in building science, often in collaboration with CBE’s consortium of industry leaders. Our graduates have gone on to highly successful careers, including many in leadership positions, in the building sector and beyond. In this Centerline post, we catch up with three alumni — Kit Elsworth, Soazig Kaam, and Sara Tepfer — to learn about their current work roles, what inspires them, and where they are headed.
This spring, Clark Pacific became the newest member to join CBE’s industry consortium. Soon they will collaborate with CBE and others on research that will advance the development of an innovative precast system that incorporates hydronic radiant heating and cooling, and low-carbon concrete mixes. As CBE’s only prefabricated building member, Clark Pacific brings valuable new perspectives to guide and inform the development of CBE’s research portfolio.
Each summer in the Italian Alps, workers spread acres of plastic tarps across a beloved glacier in a desperate attempt to prevent it from melting due to the warming environment. While climate change may be an abstract concept to many, for this mountain community the warming climate is an everyday reality, prompting them to action. This reaction became the inspiration and content for an installation co-created by CBE’s newest faculty member, Assistant Professor of Architecture Giovanni Betti. The installation has been selected for the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale and will be on display from May to November.
Occupant surveys provide valuable insights into how well a building is performing. Historically these surveys focus on comfort and satisfaction. However, as our attention shifts to occupant health and wellbeing, we wonder whether our tools are measuring all we need them to. In a recent paper, we look at the CBE Occupant Survey tool and its database to evaluate its measurement and benchmarking properties, while also identifying new enhancements intended to support the creation of spaces that truly benefit those who use them.