Enabling Technologies

Changing the Rules: Innovative Low-Energy Occupant-Responsive HVAC Controls & Systems

This multi-disciplinary UC Berkeley-led research collaboration is Changing the Rules focusing on building occupants rather than rigid engineering of building environments to be consistent with comfort “norms”. The research project aims to integrate new information technologies into innovative, occupant-responsive control systems building heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) controls, employing improved sensing and new capabilities for information feedback among the building, its operators, and its occupants.

  • Carl Blumstein
    Principal Investigator , and Director, CIEE
  • David Culler
    Co-Principal Investigator, Chair & Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, UC Berkeley
  • Edward Arens
    Co-PI, Director, Center for the Built Environment
  • Stefano Schiavon
    Co-PI, Center for the Built Environment
  • Gwelen Paliaga
    Co-PI, Senior Mechanical Designer, Taylor Engineering
  • Fred Bauman
    Project Manager, Center for the Built Environment
  • Karl Brown
    Project Manager, Deputy Director, CIEE (retired)

The effort is a joint project of the UC Berkeley Center for the Built Environment (CBE) and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS), the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), and Taylor Engineering, a private firm specializing in energy conservation, controls, and systems.

The research takes a comprehensive approach, using new technologies to deliver more comfortable, energy-efficient indoor environments. The project employs a range of “personal comfort systems” — low-energy fans, foot warmers, heated and cooled office chairs, and other products that provide direct and individualized heating and cooling options for building occupants. It also integrates an array of fast-emerging information technologies to optimize indoor air-flow, give building occupants more individualized control over temperature, and poll occupants to gauge their comfort and provide feedback to control systems.

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