Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: active

Title: Air movement as an energy efficient means toward occupant comfort

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Arens, Edward

Contractor: UC Berkeley

Contract Number: 10-308

Research Program Area: Atmospheric Processes, Climate Change

Topic Areas: Field Studies, Greenhouse Gas Control

Research Summary:

Most California commercial buildings are not properly sealed and mechanical ventilation, if it is operational at all, is available for only a minority of these buildings. With central heating and cooling as their only lever of thermal comfort management, some commercial building owners and operators overcool and overheat. This results in poor thermal comfort and likely indoor air quality concerns, and consumes excess electrical and thermal energy. Personal environmental control (PEC) systems including micro fans and nozzles have been demonstrated to improve thermal comfort, reduce or eliminate potential overcooling, and potentially improve indoor air quality if handled properly. Numerous fan-and nozzle configurations can be attached to office furniture, partitions, and ceilings, but the market may best be characterized by lack of innovation. This project would optimize the design of air movement devices suitable for mounting in a range of positions within a room, and to quantify their ability to produce fast-acting personal environmental control for the occupants. Using manikins, measurement instruments, and constructing office type environments equipped with PEC, the PI would investigate the optimum PEC configurations and maximum energy savings. Using example buildings in northern and southern California, the PI would investigate the transition from current air conditioning systems to a PEC equipped systems. In collaboration with industrial partners, the PI would recommend optimal devices to act as stand alone devices or integrated into building systems. Success in this study can have significant impacts in terms of energy reductions and associated avoided anthropogenic emissions, thus supporting the Title 24 California Energy Efficiency standards and the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. Avoided anthropogenic emissions may reduce ambient ozone and aerosol concentrations (impact state implementation plans). PEC incorporation into buildings could improve indoor air quality (if handled properly) following guidelines the Board has established.


For questions regarding research reports, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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