College of Environmental Design


Spring 2015 Updates

CED Research Retreat

CED held a faculty research retreat on February 6th which was a resounding success! Seventeen faculty presented ‘what’s next on the horizon’ for their research to their colleagues, and several guests from LBNL, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Stamen Design, the CED Dean's Advisory Council, and CED Staff. Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, engaged the attendees with a lively and thought-­‐provoking keynote address.

Following the retreat, there have been ongoing discussions with ORU leaders and a newly established faculty committee to strategize improvements to our research infrastructure, including increased accessibility to data, funding opportunities, proposal writing/team building, and lab space. Jason Corburn and Kristina Hill have volunteered to co-­‐chair this committee, which is tasked with drafting a CED Research Infrastructure Plan to be reviewed by faculty and ORU directors. This plan will communicate our strategies and opportunities for partnerships to be developed with the Vice Chancellor for Research, LBNL, and other potential collaborators and funders.

New 3D Printing Techonology Research is Presented to the Public

Professor Ron Rael, and Team, launched Bloom, a 9 foot tall freestanding tempietto with a footprint that measures approximately 12 feet by 12 feet and is composed of 840 customized 3D printed blocks. The experimental pavilion represents a new paradigm in building construction methods. More information about this project is available here.

The Center for the Build Environment (CBE) Announces Research Grants

The Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at the  College of Environmental Design, Berkeley (CED) has been awarded three grants totaling $8 million to fund core research in radiant systems and task/ambient approaches to workplace comfort, and R&D in new technologies for monitoring and control of commercial buildings. (See press release.)

With $2.9 million of support from EPIC,  Fred Bauman, Paul Raftery and Assistant Professor of  Architecture Stefano Schiavon will lead a project  that is expected to make a significant contribution to improving the understanding of radiant systems in commercial buildings. This is an emerging technology that has shown a large potential for energy savings, peak demand reduction, and load shifting compared to conventional space conditioning systems. The research team intends to develop tools for industry professionals to optimize the design and operation of buildings with these systems. Working in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s new FLEXLAB facility, and in Price Industries’ Hydronic Test Chamber in Winnipeg, the research will include full-scale testing of energy and heat transfer fundamentals of radiant systems.

A second project led by CBE Director Edward Arens, and Professor David Culler of UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) will study low-cost MEMS-based ultrasonic airflow sensors for rooms and HVAC systems. The new sensors are expected to disruptively improve the accuracy of measuring and controlling airflow in buildings, leading to better control of the building’s air distribution system with associated significant energy savings, improvement to safety in laboratories and hospitals, and to the reliability of data centers.  The EPIC award of $2.5 million will support work beginning in June and ending at the end of 2017. The project team includes CBE, EECS, Taylor Engineering, and Chirp Microsystems. Match funding will be provided by Chirp Microsystems, Big Ass Fans, Price Industries, Vigilent, and CBE’s Industry Partners.

Through an ARPA-E initiative dubbed DELTA, (Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities), a CBE project team led by Profs. Edward Arens, David Culler, and Research Specialist Hui Zhang, with PhD student Michael Andersen, will develop and test wireless power transfer technology for personal comfort devices such as cooled and heated office chairs, keyboard wrist pads, and heated insoles. These innovations will allow for a wider range of comfortable temperatures indoors, greatly reducing energy use for building conditioning. The ARPA-E award of $2.6 million will help fund a three-year effort for device development, testing, and evaluation. Project partners Dr. Scholls, Staples, and Personal Comfort Systems will provide in-kind support and expertise at bringing the technology to market.

Urban Canvas Software Released by Autodesk

Urban Canvas, a powerful software-based simulator for planning and analyzing urban development created by Berkeley-based software company Synthicity, founded and led by Paul Waddell, Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning at Berkeley, goes into wide release after being acquired by 3D software giant Autodesk. (See press release.)

Autodesk Urban Canvas is an integrated desktop software and cloud-based data resources solution that uses a “SimCity”- style 3D digital model as an interactive backdrop to help city planners collaboratively edit and share urban data about complex city phenomena, including tracking buildings from plan to construction. Autodesk previewed Urban Canvas on April 18th at the 2015 American Planning Association Conference in Seattle.  The launch of Autodesk Urban Canvas follows the recent acquisition of technology and expertise from Synthicity.

Patent Research Reveals History of Design Innovation in Beautiful Exhibit

The exhibition Geographies of Innovation, researched and designed by Richard Hindle, Asst. Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, was installed at CED in the Spring of 2015. (See Online Exhibition Gallery & Catalog.)

Through models, historic patent data and narrative, the exhibit explored historical perspectives and research on ecological technology, landscape systems and green infrastructure across a range of scales. Tthe exhibit included artifacts on the invention of the vertical garden in the American midwest during the prewar era, and early designs for dynamic levees patented prior to notions of bioengineering and holistic views of river systems.