Already a core part of CBE’s research team, Carlos Duarte completed his PhD dissertation earlier this year and has joined CBE as a post-doctoral researcher. We caught up with him via Zoom while the campus is still closed due to the ongoing concerns of Covid-19.
Imagine an ice cream parlor that offers only one flavor of ice cream, one chosen by scientists based on what an ‘average’ person wants. While this idea seems absurd, a similar logic has been used in establishing standards for thermal comfort in buildings. A group of CBE staff, industry partners and others have developed a revision to thermal comfort standards that acknowledges the variability in human comfort preferences.
CBE received new funding to support research in innovative control technologies that will reduce natural gas consumption in large commercial buildings, leading to paths for cost-efficient solutions having broad application including in existing buildings.
We are saddened by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other innocent Black lives at the hands of police and vigilantes. We share the outrage that has been erupting in demonstrations in all 50 states and around the world, and we recognize that systemic racism leads to unequal access to economic opportunity, health outcomes and environmental justice. As sustainability professionals, we can catalyze change by leveraging our skills as designers, builders and planners, and by striving to diversify our profession.
Founded in St. Paul, Minnesota, Harris is a leading national mechanical contractor specializing in design and engineering, construction, controls, service, manufacturing, conveyors and end-to-end building systems with over 70 years of experience. From power plants to hospitals, stadiums to concert halls, Harris brings a spirit of creative problem solving and a commitment to excellence in delivery to every project, no matter the size, complexity or location.
New CBE Partner JLG Architects: Explorers of Design Excellence, Community Engagement and Quality of Life
Joining CBE’s consortium this spring, JLG Architects has won national accolades for both its design portfolio and for its highly supportive work environment, gaining recognition as one of the ‘50 Most Admired Companies’ in America by MSN Money, as one of ‘50 Best Places to Work’ by Inc. magazine, and as ‘2019 Design Firm of the Year’ by ENR Mountain States.
CBE researchers are part of a research program on “Resilient Cooling for Buildings,” supported by an international association of governments, industry and researchers. The main objective is to support the rapid adoption of resilient, low-energy and low-carbon cooling systems for buildings. This work will also serve to help cities and communities better contend with climate-based and demand-based power outages.
Using an extensive trove of thermal comfort research data, CBE’s research team recently published a set of ‘nudges’ to the existing adaptive comfort standards to improve comfort in commercial buildings while potentially reducing energy use. This work updates the landmark study from 1998 by Gail Brager and Richard de Dear on the Adaptive Comfort Model (ACM), which demonstrated that people in naturally ventilated buildings were more comfortable with seasonal temperature variation compared to people in air-conditioned buildings.
Working From Home During the Covid-19 Crisis: Window Views May Help Emotional States, Productivity and Comfort
Millions of people are working at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19, creating stress and impacting our well-being and productivity. Science shows that time spent in nature may improve our health and emotions, however, when we are not able to be in nature physically, we may derive benefits simply by access to windows with views. A study recently published by CBE found that a view from a window has positive impacts on emotion, cognitive performance and thermal comfort.
CBE recently launched an online tool for designing with ceiling fans, making it easier for designers to create highly energy efficient and comfortable spaces. The tool was created based on years of research that have demonstrated that ceiling fans can keep a person cool while using only a fraction of the energy required by air conditioning.