For Immediate Release
13 February 2015
Mary Cocoma | Director Development & External Relations
Image left: CBE will develop MEMS-based airflow sensors that will be useful for monitoring and controlling ultra-low energy conditioning systems. DPR Construction's Phoenix office integrates ceiling fans, natural ventilation, evaporative cooling towers and a "solar chimney." Image: Courtesy of DPR
Berkeley — 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.
Two projects will be funded through grants of $2.9 and $2.5 million by the California Energy Commission under the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). A third award of $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) will support development of the next generation of CBE’s low-energy personal comfort systems. CED faculty and researchers will lead the projects in collaboration with CBE Industry Partners, who will provide match funding and in-kind support.
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.
Project team members include Taylor Engineering, the New Buildings Institute, TRC and Price Industries. CBE’s Industry Partners and Price Industries will provide match funding. Delta Products has offered their new Fremont, CA headquarters as a study site. The ARTIC (Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center) project has also been proposed as a second field study site for the EPIC radiant project..
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.
The Center for the Built Environment (CBE) was formed in 1997. Its mission is to improve the environmental quality and energy efficiency of commercial buildings by providing timely, unbiased information on building technologies and design and operation techniques. Located in Wurster Hall, CBE is part of the Center for Environmental Design and Research (CEDR), led by Director Edward Arens and Associate Director Gail Brager.