Today’s Challenges to the Building Industry
New technologies allow today’s buildings to be more efficient and responsive to occupant needs than ever before. A challenge to the building industry is to understand the opportunities offered by these new technologies and learning how best to apply them. In addition, detailed information on building performance rarely gets back to design and development teams, leading to a situation in which many building industry professionals make economic and design decisions with insufficient feedback from experience, or input from objective research.
In 1997, a group of industry and government leaders teamed up with faculty and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley to address these challenges. This effort led to the creation of the Center for the Built Environment (CBE), a collaborative research organization serving a consortium of firms and organizations committed to improving the performance of commercial buildings. Under the leadership of Director Edward Arens, CBE has grown and matured, and today CBE faculty, researchers, and graduate students are actively involved in a wide range of projects of relevance to the building industry. CBE's research is catagorized into the following five project areas:
1. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
CBE has developed methods to measure the performance of occupied buildings in terms of occupant comfort, workplace efficiency, and building operations.
2. Building HVAC Systems
Advanced HVAC systems provide opportunities for energy savings and benefits to occupants.
3. Building Envelope Systems
CBE is developing tools and criteria for evaluating facade performance in terms of occupant comfort and energy efficiency.
4. Human Interactions
New information technologies provide ways to optimize the performance of building systems.
5. Sustainability, Whole Building Energy, and Other Topics
CBE is evaluating broader implications of commercial building design, construction, and operations.