As sensors, networks, and smart devices create increasingly interdependent building systems, collaborative research between design disciplines becomes vital for advancing the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. Technology consulting firm TEECOM was formed to embody a culture of multidisciplinary research, and joining CBE is a natural extension of the firm’s work.
Since forming in 1970, full-service design firm RMW Architecture & Interiors has been dedicated to shaping responsive and innovative environments for academic, civic, industrial, life science, manufacturing, and workplace spaces. As a mid-size firm of 86 employees, with studios in San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento, they are dedicated to advancing connections between people and place, buildings and well-being, passion and process, and sustainability and possibility.
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.
CBE’s research mission is supported largely by a talented group of graduate students and visiting student scholars from abroad. This spring, several student team members received merit-based scholarships that will support their studies and participation at professional conferences.
Integrated design firm SmithGroup joined the CBE consortium in April 2018. Working across a network of 12 offices in the U.S. and China, their team of 1,300 experts is committed to excellence in strategy, design and delivery. The firm partners with forward-looking clients to maximize opportunities, minimize risk and solve their most complex problems.
New industry partner PAE designs high-performing buildings that keep people comfortable, healthy, and productive inside, while restoring the natural world outside. As Principal Alan Shepherd points out, “We are excited for the opportunity to be kept abreast of the latest research in occupant comfort and wellbeing, and let this information inform and inspire our designs, as well as help our firm’s up-and-coming engineers learn.”
This April, CBE welcomed to its consortium Sanken, a Japan-based engineering leader that will collaborate with researchers at CBE and overseas on radiant cooling technologies. This new collaboration builds on Sanken’s efforts that span several decades to innovate and provide customers with reliable and advanced systems and facilities.
Quinn Evans Architects joined CBE’s research consortium in spring 2018. With a diverse portfolio of historic, cultural, educational, and urban revitalization projects, QEA helps their clients realize context-sensitive, community-oriented designs that address immediate needs as well as long term resilience and stewardship objectives.
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.