What's New Archive

A chronological record of CBE's past progress and accomplishments through 2011. For current news, please visit our blog.

May 2011: If These Walls Could Talk: Text Mining of Surveys of Workplace Occupants

CBE Research Specialist John Goins and Portland State University's Mithra Moezzi's paper "Text Mining for Occupant Perspectives on the Physical Workplace," has recently been published in Building Research and Information. It has also been picked up broadly by the press, including this article appearing in Psychology Today. The paper analyzes the open ended responses collected using CBE's Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality Survey, and assists in broadening our understanding of what occupants care most about in their workplaces. The full paper can be accessed here.

April 2011: Information Visualization in Commercial Buildings: Design, Technology, and Human Behavior

At this symposium, designers, software developers, researchers, and usability specialists presented theoretical approaches for influencing behavior change, discuss the challenges inherent in such efforts, and provide a wide range of examples and case studies. See details >>

April 2011: REHAU Joins Industry Consortium, Will Support Radiant Rresearch Program

REHAU, an international manufacturer of innovative polymer products for construction, automotive and industry, joined CBE's Industry Advisory Board (IAB) this spring. CBE staff plan to collaborate with REHAU product and engineering leaders on developing new research related to emerging low-energy building technologies, such as radiant cooling, and ground-source heat exchange.

March 2011: CBE Collaborates with New Consortium Member M.E. GROUP

CBE Research Specialist Hui Zhang presented at new consortium member M.E. GROUP's annual meeting in early March. The M.E. GROUP has built its practice around its mission of 'Improving life through a better built environment.' With a focus on sustainable design principles, the firm has administered the certification of over 30 LEED buildings, with an additional 100 LEED registered in various stages of completion.

December 2010: Livable Buildings Award Winners Announced

Results of the 2010 Livable Buildings Awards were decided by a jury of CBE Industry Partners. The top award goes to the UC San Francisco's 654 Minnesota Street project, designed by STUDIOS Architecture and Taylor Engineering. The program judges awarded an honorable mention to the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology in Menlo Park, CA. These projects were selected from a select group of buildings that provided the highest level of indoor environmental quality as determined by CBE's Occupant IEQ Survey.

October 2010: CBE Welcomes New Consortium Member HMC Architects

With over seventy years of project experience, HMC Architects is one of the nation's prominent designers of education and healthcare facilities, with services from master planning through construction administration. It has found success upon principles of evidence-based design, sustainability, and collaboration with industry clients.

August 2010: Cannon Design Newest CBE Consotrium Member

Founded over sixty years ago, Cannon Design is now ranked among the world's leading international architectural, engineering, and planning firms. The firm, ranked the 14th largest in the world, has been recognized with over 250 awards for design excellence, technological innovation, and creative thought leadership.

July 2010: CBE's Consortium Joined by its Third Investor-owned Utility

San Diego Gas & Electric is committed to operating its companies around the world in a way that is forward looking and respectful of the environment. By developing environmentally-responsible solutions for the future, San Diego Gas & Electric delivers a sustainable supply of energy needed to power the lives of their 29 million customers each day.

April 2010: CBE Co-sponsors Integrated Facades Symposium

The purpose of this full day symposium was to generate a dialogue between researchers and professionals in North America and Europe. The symposium was composed of leading practitioners from Europe and a panel of local design experts who discussed case studies, performance, and applications of integrated facade design in North America. View content from the symposium.

March 2010: CBE Welcomes New Consortium Member LPA, Inc.

Founded in 1965, LPA Inc. has a distinct history of expertise in architecture, design and planning. The firm has more LEED certified buildings than any firm in the state, and was recognized as the #11 Top Green Design Firm in the Nation in 2009, with the highest percentage of LEED accredited professionals in the U.S.

February 2010: Boston Globe Article on Personal Environmental Controls

This article describes some of the benefits of giving occupants control of their personal microclimates in the workplace. It also cites several of the PEC related studies underway at CBE, and quotes CBE's Edward Arens, Hui Zhang, and Stefano Schivan. Read the article.

December 2009: Livable Buildings Awards Announced

Results of the 2009 Livable Buildings Awards were decided by a jury of CBE Industry Partners. The top award goes to Chartwell School in Seaside, CA, designed by CBE Industry Partner firms EHDD and Taylor Engineering. The program judges also awarded two honorable mention projects. These projects were selected from a select group of buildings that provided the highest level of indoor environmental quality as determined by CBE's Occupant IEQ Survey.

April 2009: New CBE Consortium Members Add to CBE Diversity

CBE welcomes two new consortium members, which each represent major players in California’s push towards sustainable buildings. DPR Construction has completed over $1 billion in green projects, and has the highest percentage of LEED-accredited professionals among GCs in the US.
Southern California Edison provides power to over 13 million people and sponsors a wide range of energy efficiency and advanced technology programs.

January 2009: Centerline Article on Building Energy Dashboards

The building industry is adopting new data visualization tools, using a new generation of information displays, or dashboards, with features and interfaces tailored for building owners, operators, and occupants. CBE provides an overview of this trend in our winter 2009 edition of Centerline. Read the article (PDF)

October 2008: Livable Buildings Awards Announced

Results of the 2008 Livable Buildings Awards were announced at CBE’s Industry Advisory Board conference. We wish to congratulate the winning project team for SCA Americas Headquarters in Philadelphia, and also the project teams behind the three honorable mention projects. These buildings and workplaces meet the highest standards for providing healthy and productive indoor environments, and were identified by a jury of building industry professionals as strong examples of sustainability and overall design.

October 2008: CBE Welcomes New Consortium Members

At CBE’s Industry Advisory Board meeting we welcomed a new partner team headed by new A/E/C membership team, headed by Rumsey Engineers, with CPP, Mahlum Architects, Mithun, and Perkins + Will. These new partners offer a wealth of creativity and professional expertise, and are already involved in several collaborations with our research staff. In addition we look forward to working with, Coherent Structures, a Phoenix-based contractor and supplier of integrated interior systems, which joined our consortium this fall.

August 2008: Special Occupant Survey Promotion for Schools

We have been expanding our Occupant IEQ Survey project to evaluate occupant satisfaction in several types buildings. We have completed a new survey instrument for use in schools, which we hope to implement in a large number projects to analyze occupant satisfaction trends and patterns in K-12 schools. We are offering the use of the survey for no cost for any project registered by October 15th, 2008. See additional information

May 2008: CBE Student Researcher Wins Switzer Fellowship

Sam Borgeson, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Building Science Program, was awarded the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, given to a very select group of graduate students dedicated to improving environmental quality and demonstrating leadership in their fields. In addition to his many activities on campus, Sam is working with Prof. Gail Brager on CBE’s mixed-mode building research, and the UC Berkeley Building Energy Dashboard. See Sam's award posting.

April 2008: New Industry Partners Provide HVAC Expertise

At our Industry Advisory Board meeting, we welcomed new firms which are leaders in HVAC design. We look forward to our collaborations with these industry leaders:
Environmental Systems Design (ESD)
has over 240 engineering and design professionals in its Chicago office, and is one of the largest consulting engineering firms in the Midwest.
Glumac has eight offices on the West Coast, and provides consulting engineering for four market segments - Commercial, Healthcare, Institutional, and Advanced Technology.

March 2008: Best Practice Awards Press

A feature article in the online magazine Architecture Week highlights CBE's Livable Buildings Awards. The article provides a discussion of the merits of each award winning project, with numerous images, plans and sections of the winners. Go to the article

February 2008: Continuing Education Article in Architectural Record cites CBE's Occupant Survey

An article by Joann Gonchar in the February 2008 issue of Architectural Record shows how "post occupancy evaluations offer a systematic process for assessing completed projects, pointing the way to better-performing buildings." The article, which is followed by a quiz for AIA continuing education credit, includes a detailed description of CBE's survey research, with examples of POE results from projects by EHDD, Stantec, and HOK. Read the article

October 2007: CBE Livable Building Awards

CBE announced the results of the first annual Livable Buildings Awards on October 18, 2007. This award is granted for buildings that demonstrate exceptional performance in terms of occupant satisfaction, resource efficiency, and overall design. This program is unique among building industry awards, as it is the only one to include the preferences of building occupants in its selection criteria. To be considered for the award, buildings must rank among the top scorers in CBE's Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality Survey. Winners for the 2007 awards include the Global Ecology Research Center, the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies, and the Philip Merrill Environmental Center.

May 2007: CBE Student Researcher Receives Prestigious Fellowship

The Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program has named UC Berkeley graduate student Timothy Moore as one if its Fellows for 2007. The Switzer Foundation provides grants each year to graduate students in New England and California whose studies are directed toward improving environmental quality, and who demonstrate leadership in their field. Timothy will use the fellowship to continue his current research on radiant cooling systems. The initial phase of his research was summarized in CBE's Internal Report, "Radiant Cooling Research Scoping Study," released in April 2006. Timothy joins Mara Baum, another alumnus of UC Berkeley's Architecture Program, who became a Switzer Fellow in 2004.

May 2007: Case Study on Occupant Survey High-Achiever

CBE's Occupant Survey lets building owners, operators, and design teams get feedback directly from building occupants, and the survey has been used in over 300 buildings. In order to provide an example of design and operation best practices, CBE recently conducted case study research of a building that scored very highly in all categories of the CBE survey. The building, the Carnegie Center for Global Ecology, was among the highest scoring buildings in the survey, and recently received an AIA/COTE 2007 Top Ten Award. Read the case study (pdf).

April 2007: CBE Director Edward Arens Named Campus Sustainability Leader

UC Berkeley's Chancellor Birgeneau presented CBE Director Edward Arens with a Campus Sustainability Leadership Award. In his presentation of the award, Chancellor Birgeneau cited Ed's "leadership in sustainable design and development." The award was given at the UC Berkeley Sustainability Summit, an annual event to recognize sustainability efforts taking place on campus. In conjunction with the summit, Chancellor Birgeneau announced that UCB would adopt a goal of reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2014. See the article on the summit

March 2007: Economic Development and Environmental Challenges in Asia

Clark C. Bisel, Senior Vice President with Flack + Kurtz, recently gave his presentation, "The Asian Century: Current Economic Development and Its Impact on Global Energy" to faculty, staff and students at CBE. In his talk, Clark explains how the economic expansion well underway in Asia will have dramatic effects in terms of energy consumption and global environmental outcomes. The impact of China is a primary concern, as its energy use is six times that of Japan, and 3.5 times that of the US, in terms of the energy used per unit of GDP.

Clark has given his presentation to diverse groups in the Bay Area, including the AIA and church groups, and is scheduled to present to the Golden Gate ASHRAE Chapter in June. His goal is to raise awareness in the building industry and beyond, and to initiate dialogue about solutions to this potentially dire situation. View the presentation (pdf)

November 2006: CBE Faculty to Head USGBC Research Committee

At the Greenbuild Conference in Denver, Prof. Gail Brager was elected Chair of the USGBC Research Committee. This committee, which consists of high-level representatives from leading research organizations, academia, NGO's, and industry, is working to identify and prioritize research needs in the building industry. USGBC members may sign up to receive information on the committee's events, on the USGBC website.

LEED chartNovember 2006: POE Survey Workshops

CBE presented the Occupant IEQ Survey research in two workshops in Portland and Seattle, sponsored by BetterBricks and the USGBC Cascadia Chapter, November 1 and 2. View the presentation (pdf).

September 2006: Lighting Control Startup Scores Funding

Adura Technologies was one of five new companies to receive seed funding under California Clean Tech Open, a competition developed to spur investment in clean technologies. Organizers of the award program announced the five winners at an event at San Francisco's City Hall. Each winner received more than $100,000 worth of prizes, including $50,000 cash, legal and accounting services, public relations consulting, and office space.

Adura was founded in 2004 to commercialize the wireless lighting system originally developed at CBE by Research Specialist Charlie Huizenga. In pilot tests the system has shown energy savings of over 50%.

August 2006: Mixed-Mode Website and Article

CBE launched a unique mixed-mode building website, with eight detailed case studies and a database of basic characteristics of over 150 naturally ventilated and mixed-mode buildings. Visit the site >>

In conjunction with this website launch, Gail Brager's article on mixed-mode cooling appears in the August issue of ASHRAE Journal. The paper may also be viewed on the UC eRepository website (PDF).

June/July 2006: Guidelines for UFAD project design

Our UFAD technology transfer program has been active with two new papers by Tom Webster and Fred Bauman appearing in the June and July issues of HPAC Engineering. View the papers on-line:
Design Guidelines for Underfloor Plenums
Design Guidelines for Stratification in UFAD Systems

May/June 2006: More Lighting Control Press

California Magazine, published by the California Alumni Association, provides an overview of the lighting control technology development in an article by Catriona Stuart.

March 2006: New Recognition for Wireless Lighting Control System

The wireless lighting control system in development at CBE has garnered attention from several sources recently. In March, the founders of Adura Technologies, former UCB graduate student researchers who are now working to commercialize this technology, reached the finalist stage of the Global Social Venture Competition. In reaching this stage, Adura competed successfully against numerous entries from across the United States and abroad. In addition, Adura received recognition from the Flex Your Power program last fall. View the release (pdf)

November 2005: LEED Occupant Survey Study

Are occupants more satisfied in green buildings than in conventional ones? CBE has completed surveys in over 25 green buildings, including 16 LEED-certified buildings. CBE provided updated information on this research in a presentation at the USGBC Greenbuild conference in November. Also, see related research in Judith Heerwagen’s post occupancy evaluation of the Philip Merrill Environmental Center.

November2005: UFAD Article for Facility Managers

CBE Industry Partner Steven Spinazzola PE, Vice President with RTKL, has authored Air Distribution Turned Upside Down in the November issue of Building Operating Management. The article provides facility managers and decision makers with an overview of UFAD benefits, and explains the importance of integrated design and proper HVAC design, when considering UFAD systems.

September 2005: On-line UFAD Design Tips

In its on-line issue of e-News, Energy Design Resources has published Underfloor Air Distribution Systems: Four Tips for Success. The article summarizes design guidance from CBE's extensive research on UFAD systems.

July 2005: Recent Press for CBE Wireless Lighting System

A recent article, Spotlight on Systems Research in Architectural Record describes CBE's efforts to develop a low-cost wireless lighting control system. The system includes remotes that allow building occupants to control lights individually, and integrates light and motion sensors. A team of graduate students led by Research Specialist Charlie Huizenga is currently installing 40 of the individual control units in a pilot study in a UC building. Previous pilot studies showed that the system can save 40% on lighting electrical use.

Green Building Research Center

May 2005: New Green Building Center at UCB

We created the Green Building Research Center at UC Berkeley to advance the University’s educational mission through green design, to promote green building practices on campus, and to broaden research on sustainable technologies at UC Berkeley. In May 2005 the GBRC received a grant from StopWaste.Org to study and promote green building operations in the Office of the President (UCOP) headquarters building. We are using the framework provided by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB).

January 2005: CBE Responds to UFAD Inaccuracies

A letter to the editor by CBE Research Specialist Fred Bauman P.E.,appears in the January issue of Consulting-Specifying Engineer. Mr. Bauman's letter addresses a number of inaccuracies from a roundtable discussion of UFAD that CSE published in October 2004. See links below for this response, and the original article:
The Real "Facts" on UFAD, January 2005
Above or Below?, October 2004

October 2004: Thermal Comfort Model Training

CBE provided a special training workshop to coincide with a new release of the UCB Advanced Thermal Comfort Model. This model is capable of modeling human physiological responses under various conditions, and predicting the level of comfort that would result under those conditions. (See below for recent news on the model's recent development). CBE has released a beta-version of the model for testing by its industry partners.

August 2004: New Grant Awarded

CBE has received a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for the development of a flexible, low-cost lighting control system that could provide commercial building owners with more satisfied tenants and significant energy savings. The system will utilize miniature, low-power radio technology currently being developed at UC Berkeley. By using a wireless network instead of traditional wiring, CBE’s research team aims to greatly reduce installation costs for the new system, and to make it cost effective for retrofits in existing buildings. See more details in UC Berkeley's press release>>

The new funding was awarded to CBE through the Energy Innovations Small Grant Program, part of CEC’s Public Interest Energy Research PIER) program. Go to CEC press release>>

August 2004: LEED Buildings Wanted

The rapidly growing number of LEED certified buildings is evidence of LEED's success in transforming the building industry. However there is still a shortage of information about the real performance of these buildings in terms of energy savings, occupant comfort, and productivity.

CBE is starting a new campaign to use our Occupant IEQ Satisfaction Survey to evaluate the performance of LEED buildings, and to compare them to non-rated buildings. CBE has offered to implement the survey on all LEED buildings free of charge, and will give design teams and owners access to survey results using a reporting tool that allows users to filter and view results in detail. (Each CBE member firm is already entitled to 4 surveys per year, free of charge.) If you know of a LEED building that would be a candidate for our survey, please send an email as soon as possible to cbe-survey@berkeley.edu

July 2004: Press for Thermal Comfort Model

CBE’s Thermal Comfort Model has been highlighted in recent print and online articles. Kathleen Maclay of UC Berkeley Media Relations, describes the development of the comfort model, and the recent ASHRAE award: UC Berkeley researcher wins award for work on human thermal comfort model

Garance Burke, a writer for the Sacramento Bee, interviewed CBE staff in his piece on comfort in automobiles on hot summer days: Keep a cool head when your car sizzles.

June 2004: New Acoustical Analysis

CBE researchers have completed a report based on new analysis of data collected from over 80 non-residential buildings using CBE’s Occupant IEQ Surveys. The analysis reveals that occupants in private offices are significantly more satisfied with acoustics than occupants in cubicles, and that over 60% of occupants in open plan cubicles think acoustics interfere with their ability to get their jobs done. Results of this analysis have been submitted for publication, and are expected this fall. More details>>

June 2004: Adaptive Comfort in Naturally Ventilated Buildings

Research led by Prof. Gail Brager has determined that people with access to operable windows tolerate a wider range of temperatures and air velocities. The final report on this three-year research effort was presented at the 2004 ASHRAE Annual Meeting, in Nashville, June 26-30. Click here for an overview of the project and the research findings>>

March 2004: Presentations

Building occupants are a valuable source of information about how a building is performing. A recent presentation by CBE's Leah Zagreus and David Lehrer, "Using Information Technology and Occupant Feedback to Improve Building Operations," describes two CBE projects that can help building operators to collect and analyze feedback from occupants to identify and diagnose problems. The presentation, given at the National Facilities Management and Technology (NFM&T) Conference in Baltimore on March 10th, may be downloaded by clicking here. (PDF, 3.4 MB)

February 2004: ASHRAE Award for CBE Researcher

CBE research specialist Dr. Zhang Hui has been awarded the ASHRAE Ralph Nevins Physiology and Human Environment Award. This award is presented each year for significant accomplishment in the study of human responses to the environment. Hui’s PhD dissertation study, “Local Thermal Comfort in Asymmetrical and Transient Environments,” was funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In the study, Hui conducted over 100 individual human subject tests in CBE’s thermal test chamber. Test data were used to quantify human sensation and comfort in non-uniform, changing thermal environments, and to develop mathematical models for predicting thermal comfort for segments of the body, and for overall comfort. The results of this study have now been incorporated into the UCB Advanced Thermal Comfort Model. This tool now has the capability to allow building designers and researchers to predict physiological responses and comfort sensations under a wide variety of realistic conditions.

January 2004: UFAD Design Guide Available

The Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) Design Guide is now available from the ASHRAE. This guide, authored by CBE Research Specialist Fred Bauman and Allan Daly of Taylor Engineering, is the product of collaborative research and documentation by CBE and its industry members. The guide has been developed to assist engineers, architects, owners, facility managers, manufacturers, installers, and other users of underfloor air distribution technology. To purchase the guide please go to the online ASHRAE Bookstore.