Centerline

Smart Thermostat Innovation Will Help People Breathe Easier During Wildfires

Smart Thermostat Innovation Will Help People Breathe Easier During Wildfires

Wildfires in the western United States have been increasing in frequency and magnitude in recent decades, resulting in poor air quality that constitutes a major environmental risk factor for human health and mortality. Researchers at CBE have created a novel software tool for smart thermostats to improve the air quality inside homes at times when outside air becomes unhealthy during wildfires.

Funding for California Clean Energy Entrepreneurs: Extended to August 25, 2022

Funding for California Clean Energy Entrepreneurs: Extended to August 25, 2022

CBE is one of 30 research testbeds supporting the California Test Bed Initiative, a lab-based commercialization development program for innovators and entrepreneurs working to bring early to mid-stage clean energy concepts to market. CalTestBed will award vouchers worth up to $300,000 to test and validate candidate technologies at one of nearly 30 testbeds across the UC system and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In Memoriam: Tom Webster, 1942-2022

In Memoriam: Tom Webster, 1942-2022

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

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.

Contributions of CBE Faculty and Researchers Receive Industry Recognition

Contributions of CBE Faculty and Researchers Receive Industry Recognition

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.

2021 in Review: A Year of Resilience and Adaptation

2021 in Review: A Year of Resilience and Adaptation

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.

2021 Livable Building Award Winner is an Instrument for Environmental Learning

2021 Livable Building Award Winner is an Instrument for Environmental Learning

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.

Alternatives to Air Conditioning: Fans as a Path to Resilience

Alternatives to Air Conditioning: Fans as a Path to Resilience

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 Alumni Approach Sustainability via Building Performance, Material Science and Data Management

CBE Alumni Approach Sustainability via Building Performance, Material Science and Data Management

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.

A Leader in Prefabrication, Clark Pacific Joins CBE as Industry Partner and Research Collaborator

A Leader in Prefabrication, Clark Pacific Joins CBE as Industry Partner and Research Collaborator

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.