ASHRAE Grant-in-Aid Explores Building Occupants, Comfort and Energy Use

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Atlanta — The question of how much energy occupants expend in offices and how that impacts their personal comfort is being explored through a grant from ASHRAE.

Better tools for quantifying the comfort and behavior of building occupants as an integral part of the building design and operation processes will be developed by Jared Langevin, Drexel University, through his project, Human Behavior and Low Energy Architecture: Linking Environmental Adaptation, Personal Comfort and Energy Use in the Built Environment.

Langevin is one of 21 students who will receive a grant through ASHRAE Graduate Student Grant-In-Aid Award Program, which is designed to encourage students to continue their education in preparation for service in the HVAC&R industry. The grants, totaling $210,000, are awarded to full-time graduate students of ASHRAE-related technologies.

“In recent years, it has been suggested that discrepancies between actual and expected energy use in office buildings can be attributed to a single source of uncertainty: the building occupant,” Langevin said. “While traditional design-stage engineering calculations for office buildings have assumed occupants contribute no more than an added heat gain, in practice real office employees interact with and adapt to their surrounding environments in much more deliberate and meaningful ways. Many studies have demonstrated that this interaction has important effects on energy use.”

He notes there are currently no comprehensive tools that architects and engineers can use early in the design process to weigh various scenarios of occupant behavior against key aspects of office building design and expected comfort, productivity and energy use outcomes. As a result, building designers are typically left in the dark about how real people might use and perceive their spaces and must achieve energy efficient conditioning strategies in spite of the uncertainties surrounding occupant behavior, he said. Instead they could be embracing these uncertainties themselves as an opportunity for saving energy and improving indoor air quality.

The project will involve constructing a general framework for linking occupant behavior simulation with whole building energy simulation programs, such that behavior, comfort, and productivity outcomes can be directly evaluated alongside possible energy use impacts in building design and operation. Langevin also will develop an office occupant behavior simulation routine that generates individual and group-level behavior patterns and integrate this routine into the general simulation framework. He will package outputs from the integrated behavior-energy simulation tool in a way that can be understood by both architects and engineers.

Grant recipients are:
• Rohit Andhare,  University Maryland,  Experimental Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop Characteristics of a Novel Solution Heat Exchanger for Absorption Cooling
• Martinus Arie,  University of Maryland,  Numerical Modeling and Optimization of Manifold-Microchannel Heat Exchanger for HVAC Applications
• Rodrigo Barraza, University of Wisconsin-Madison,  Thermal-Fluid Behavior of Mixed Refrigerants for Cryogenic Applications
• Jie Cai, Purdue University,  Inverse Modeling of Building Envelope ad HVAC Systems to Enable Control and Retrofit Analysis
• Ying-Chieh Chan,  Purdue University,  Analysis and Optimization of Intelligent and Multi-functional Facades for Building Perimeter Zones
• Chun Chen, Purdue University, Modeling Person-to-Person Contaminant Transport in a Mechanical Ventilation Space
• Justin DeBlois, University of Pittsburgh,  Informing Energy Efficient Occupant Behavior with Real Time Building Energy Modeling
• Dhruv Hoysall, Georgia Institute of Technology,  Characterization of Heat and Mass Transfer Mechanism in Convective Ammonia-water Absorption at the Microscales
• Yang-Seon Kim, Pennsylvania State University, Occupants Number and Behavior can have Large Effects of Building Energy Use
• Jared Langevin, Drexel University, Human Behavior & Low Energy Architecture Linking Environmental Adaptation, Personal Comfort and Energy Use in the Built Environment; also receives the Grant-In-Aid Life Member Club grant designation given to the highest top-rated applicants and supported by a financial contribution from the club.
• Jared Levy, University of Maryland, Next Generation, Ultra-Efficient, Micro-structured Thin Film Heat Exchangers for Low Delta T Energy Recovery
• Yirui Liang,  University of Texas-Austin,  The Efficiency of HVAC Filters in Reducing Semi Volatile Organic Compounds in Indoor Environment; also  receives the Grant-In-Aid Life Member Club grant designation given to the highest top-rated applicants and supported by a financial contribution from the club.
• Dusan Licina, National University of Singapore,  Impact of Human Convective Boundary Layer on Inhaled Air Quality and Its Protective Role Under Different Ventilation Strategies
• Malcolm MacDonald, Georgia Institute of Technology, Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop Condensation of Pure and Multi Component Hydrocarbons Mixtures
• Kristen Markham, University of Texas-Austin,  Assessing the Performance of Buildings Due to Extreme Weather and Climate Change
• Samantha Perkarscik, University of Kansas,  Air-Side Economizer Low-Limits Effect on Energy and Thermal Comfort
• Aakash Rai, Purdue University, Developing Risk Paradigm for VOCs and Particles from Ozone Reactions in Aircraft Cabin
• Shane Riley,  Univeristy of Texas,  Demand Optimized Protocol for Photo-Voltaic System Orientation
• Ryan Tanner,  University of Colorado-Boulder,  Stochastic Control Optimization of Mixed-Mode Buildings
• Yu Xue, Tianjin University,  Inverse Design Theory of Aircraft Cabin Environment with Genetic Algorithm ad Adjoint Method
• Nicholas Zibin, Concordia University,  Calibrating a Building Energy Model on a Component Level Using a Bottom-up Based Methodology

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