Frequently Asked Questions

1) What are the benefits of CBE membership? >>
2) What kind of specialized research tools, facilities, and staff do members have priority access to? >>
3) I have an idea for a research project. How do I suggest a new research project? >>
4) Are there opportunities to have newly developed concepts and/or completed projects tested? >>
5) What is the annual calendar of events for members? >>
6) What kinds of companies are members? >>
7) How much impact do CBE members have on the building industry? >>
8) How much does it cost to join CBE? >>


1) What are the benefits of CBE membership?

  • Attend our Industry Advisory Board Conference, which occur in April and October. These events provide updates on our current research and other special presentations for partners.
  • Direct research in areas relevant to your core business while avoiding the cost of in-house facilities and staff, or professional consultant fees. Members provide feedback and guide the development of CBE’s research portfolio, including project scopes and budgets.
  • Network and build relationships with diverse sectors of the building industry.
  • Access internal reports released only to our consortium members. Members may also comment on draft versions of findings likely to be included in publications and industry-wide standards.
  • Access specialized design and performance tools, including occupant surveys and thermal comfort models. See a more complete list below.
  • Recruit graduates from our program, who have been involved in industry-relevant research as part of their education. Many of our graduates now hold positions of substantial responsibility with member firms.
  • Greatly leverage your investment with research grants from institutional and governmental sources. Member fees are often used as seed funding to procure outside co-funding, and many of our core research projects have become self-sustaining in this manner.
  • Get involved with our research, co-authoring papers and publications, and directly influencing industry-wide standards and perceptions. Our research frequently involves members’ completed projects and/or products, which provides members with rigorous, objective feedback that has a high level of credibility in the industry.

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2) What kind of specialized research tools, facilities, and staff do members have priority access to?

Members have access to several research tools developed by CBE for the study of building and systems performance, including:

  • CBE’s Occupant IEQ Survey: Members receive two to four complimentary surveys per year (depending on membership level), with access to the survey database of over 65,000 occupant responses. The results of these surveys have been used to track facilities management, test design strategies, and for marketing purposes.
  • CBE’s Advanced Human Thermal Comfort Model: Analyze comfort implications of numerous variables, including HVAC system configuration, room layout, facade configuration, and occupant variables.
  • Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) Cost Analysis Model: Study detailed cost implications resulting from building, HVAC, and tenant improvement options for a variety of commonly used UFAD systems, and compare to overhead systems.
  • UFAD Cooling Airflow Design Tool: Determine cooling airflow requirements in interior and perimeter spaces with stratified temperatures.
  • CBE's Building Commissioning Cart: Designed and fabricated by CBE, it includes special capabilities for studying stratified temperatures in buildings with UFAD or displacement ventilation systems. Updates now enable this toolkit to comply with the new ASHRAE Performance Measurement Protocol.
  • Partner website: Includes all Internal Reports, TechNotes, PowerPoint presentations, publicity materials, and pre-publication drafts of CBE reports.
  • CBE’s research facilities: Includes controlled environment chamber, boundary layer wind tunnel, and sky simulator. Each of these facilities has extensive instrumentation and data acquisition equipment.
  • Research staff and faculty that are recognized experts in building performance, thermal comfort, field study and laboratory investigations. Our faculty, staff and graduate students frequently assist industry members with urgent questions related to project design, building operations, and system diagnostics.

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3) I have an idea for a research project. How do I suggest a new research project?

We welcome suggestions from our partners, and have a number of projects that were initiated by industry partners. We ask partners to contact us with their suggestions at least two months before our April or October board conference. A few examples include:

  • Taylor Engineering worked with us to develop a project focused on evaluating thermal comfort and indoor air quality of buildings with reduced minimum airflow rates. See the full project scope here.
  • Another partner asked CBE to pursue research on radiant cooling systems. We worked with them to develop a scope of work, which was approved by the industry partners. See the full project description here.

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4) Are there opportunities to have newly developed concepts and/or completed projects tested?

We have a long history of working with members to assist in the development of new research concepts, and we eagerly seek new opportunities for this type of collaboration. Some notable past projects include:

  • Conducting our Occupant IEQ Survey in hundreds of buildings owned, operated, and/or designed by industry partners. We have developed specialized sets of questions for research collaborations related to green buildings, acoustics, and other IEQ topics.
  • Working with Armstrong to study the effects of integrated fans and air movement on occupant personal comfort.
  • Development of the new EnergyPlus model for UFAD by conducting extensive chamber tests of floor diffusers from Industry Partners Price Industries and York (now a Johnson Controls brand).

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5) What is the annual calendar of events for members?

Our major annual events are CBEs Industry Advisory Board Conference. They typically occur during the third week of April and October. There is no cost for members to attend our Board Conference. The events for each conference are as follows:

  • Wednesday: Special workshop open to the public. Recent topics include UFAD, building information visualization, and zero net energy.
  • Thursday: All-day Plenary Session, with each member firm bringing up to seven participants. We present project updates and findings for all of our projects with recent findings, with time for member feedback and networking. Members provide written evaluation for each project presented.
  • Friday morning: Executive Session, attended by two primary representatives from each member firm. In April the members review, comment, and approve research project scopes and budgets for the fiscal year. In October the members propose and discuss research topics for the following year.

In addition to these regularly scheduled meetings, we have on-going on collaborations with a number of CBE member representatives, who meet with us to review progress, provide feedback, and/or to participate in technical advisory committee meetings.

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6) What kinds of companies are members?

We have a wide range of companies in the building industry, including contractors, architects, engineers, product manufacturers, government agencies, building owners and utilities.

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7) How much impact do CBE members have on the building industry?

Member companies involved in the design and construction of buildings (A/E/C) influence over $153 billion of commercial construction annually. (Based on 2010-2011 records.)

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8) How much does it cost to join CBE?

The standard annual membership fee is $35,000. We have a second membership level ($12,000 annually) which applies to architecture, engineering, or construction firms. Our membership year is April 1 to March 31 or October 1 to September 30. Read more here.

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Have more questions? Please contact us at (510)642-4950 or via email at