As we count down the days until the start of a new decade, it’s a good time to reflect on this year’s events, including ones that have increased our sense of urgency for environmental concerns. Here at CBE, our research team is celebrating number of important milestones along our path to improve the way buildings are designed, operated and occupied. In this blog post we highlight some of our accomplishments from 2019.
Two buildings that demonstrate excellence in architectural design and sustainability, and are well liked by building users, have been recognized with Livable Buildings Awards by UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment. Bluestone Elementary School of Harrisonburg, Virginia, by a design team led by VMDO Architects, received the top award. The jury also conferred an honorable mention to HGA’s office relocation in San Francisco. The award results were announced at CBE’s industry advisory board meeting last October.
CBE’s newest industry partner, CallisonRTKL, understands that buildings have significant impacts on human health, natural resource use, environmental quality and climate change. They have partnered with CBE, as they believe that without forward-thinking research, today’s high-performance buildings would not be designed, and tomorrow’s regenerative buildings would never be conceived.
KieranTimberlake, an award-winning Philadelphia-based architecture firm, joins CBE as an industry partner. Throughout its 35-year commitment to advancing the field of architecture, they have paired research with design. Their practice is transdisciplinary — out of 100 full-time staff, 14 are dedicated to its Research Group and represent the fields of ecology, chemistry, physics, anthropology, materials engineering, and architecture.
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.
The diversity of CBE’s industry consortium is unique and beneficial to our work, as these perspectives inform the center’s directions and research portfolio. This fall CBE welcomes new leadership who will help to guide the research team and represent the interests of CBE industry consortium members. In this post we talk with the new Partner Chair Andy Reilman and our new Partner Vice-Chair Isabelle Lavedrine.
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.
Innovation is all about answering the question: “What if?” For example, what if we could transfer the latest research for monitoring and controlling building environments to vehicle environments? Questions like this are driving the future of mobility for Lear Innovation Ventures, a new CBE partner focused on accelerating the pace of innovation and collaboration around autonomous, connected, electrified and shared mobility trends.
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.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of a seminal paper from Rocky Mountain Institute, “Greening the Building and the Bottom Line,” making the case that green buildings’ unique features may improve employee productivity. Since then interest in this topic has remained strong, and several studies by CBE and others have contributed to our collective understanding of workplace productivity; in this post we describe our related work with a focus on key variables.