Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 26th Sept 2021, 12:31:06pm PDT

Session Overview
G: Paper Session_T9: Thermal Performance, Energy Use and Visualization
Friday, 09/Apr/2021:
1:45pm - 3:15pm

Panel Moderator: Alison Kwok

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Adaptive Model Conditions for Thermal Comfort in Schools: Comparative Study in Hot climates of California, Peru and Nairobi, Kenya

David Mwale Ogoli

California Baptist University, United States of America

This study examined adaptive model conditions for thermal comfort in School buildings by comparing them in three hot climates of Riverside, California, Lima in Peru and Nairobi, Kenya. It observed different thermal comfort conditions using the ASHRAE adaptive model. This model used the predictive mean vote / predicted percent of dissatisfaction (PMV/PPD) as developed by P.O. Fanger in the late 1960’s and the Adaptive Model which has rapidly become widespread around the world. This article scrutinized which model is more suitable and energy efficient for the three locations. Many literary sources, dating from the first century with Vitruvius, and then leaving a gap up to the 1960’s were reviewed. The article noted that the bulk of research in this study started in the 1960’s and continued up to the present date. Many authors of books and articles about thermal comfort such as Fanger, Olgyay, ASHRAE, deDear, Nicol, Humphreys, Nishi, Rohles, and Szokolay were reviewed to assess the best design approach for each location.

The analysis of several studies conducted in countries with similar climatic, social, and economic conditions appears to suggest that the best design approach to achieve optimum thermal comfort in these diverse parts of the world were made by applying the adaptive model since people living in the tropics tend to adapt to a wide range of temperature fluctuations. Three sample schools were modelled using building information modelling (BIM). Simulations were done using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to study air flow and thermal comfort. Measured data were gathered in the School building in California for comparison and validation. Indoor renderings were made using Autodesk 3DS Max.

The study suggested that when humans are considered as laboratory subjects, they tend to have a universally agreeable thermal comfort range about 65°F – 78°F (18.3°C-25.6°C) but when they are given more control of their living or work space, the comfort range widens. It is possible that the economic, cultural and technological expectations of people may be factors that account for the extension of the thermal comfort zone. When the comfort zone was extended, the energy-efficiency in buildings was enhanced. The study further suggested that forcing a building onto a site that would constantly reject it as being unsustainable would increase demand of energy for occupants in the climate. Many developing countries lack significant research studies and this is a request to consider more similar in-depth studies.


ASHRAE, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2017: Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, (2017).

P.O. Fanger, Thermal comfort: Analysis and Applications in Environmental Engineering, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1972.

R.J. de Dear, G.S. Brager, Developing an adaptive model of thermal comfort and preference, Pt 1A (1998), pp. 145–167.

Automated Energy Use Data Collection and Comparative Visualization in Public Schools for Game-Based Environmental Education for K-12 Students

Philip Reim1, Yang Song2, Malini Srivastava3

1North Dakota State University, United States of America; 2Texas A&M University, United States of America; 3University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, United States of America

Live visualizations of building occupants’ energy use produce heightened energy consciousness among occupants (Faruqui et al., 2010) and motivate actions taken to reduce consumption (Faruqui et al., 2010). In particular, smart energy monitor technology implemented in K-12 schools not only directs students’ attention to the energy implications of their decisions at school, but also encourages the same degree of energy awareness at home (Fell & Chiu, 2014). In spite of these documented outcomes in the literature, [Name of City] Public Schools district did not have any means of metering, monitoring and providing visualizations of energy use data in the schools for educational and environmental benefit.

This paper documents a successful process and method for implementing smart energy monitor–based frequent comparative visualizations in seven public school buildings in a serious pervasive games–based educational and engagement effort. A collaboration between the local university, municipality, utility and the school district was created to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions from municipal buildings (of which the schools are a part). The authors, who lead the work of this partnership, worked with public school district administrators, device manufacturers, and utility companies to effectively structure and install functioning live energy displays in the schools by securing a [State] Department of Commerce grant for energy education and efficiency measures.

For effective use of the functioning live energy displays, the method builds on a pervasive serious energy game designed, implemented and tested by the authors in classrooms with consistent success in achieving energy savings and learning gain amongst students. The paper describes the partnerships, roles, processes and methods needed to identify appropriate technology and evaluate the costs and returns on investments for the parties involved. This paper further describes the workflow developed by the authors, using Python and Adobe Illustrator scripts, for collecting live energy data from the smart meters, normalization of the collected data, and the production of an age-appropriate (for elementary, middle and high schools) comparative visualization. These visualizations are then displayed on monitoring systems and summarize comparative energy use reductions between meter-equipped schools with the goal of creating competitive comparisons in the serious games. The displays can be updated at any convenient time interval and presented to students in digital or printed formats.

As the testing of the hardware and software commences, the COVID-19 pandemic–related school closures have created an opportunity to test a version of the educational game component that is fully asynchronous and more widely accessible beyond the school building. The installation of the hardware and the successful research and creation of a real-time visualization process provides the potential for testing the impact of energy use in schools and transfer of knowledge from the school environment to the home environment.

Faruqui, A., Sergici, S., & Sharif, A. (2010). The impact of informational feedback on energy consumption: A survey of the experimental evidence. Energy, 35(4), 1598-1608.

Fell, M. J., & Chiu, L. F. (2014). Children, parents and home energy use: Exploring motivations and limits to energy demand reduction. Energy Policy, 65, 351-358.

Visualizing Thermodynamic Flows in Architectural Research: Multi-scalar Co-benefits of Waste-heat Utilization in Data Centers

Sara Ghaemi, Aletheia Ida

University of Arizona, United States of America

This research examines the excessive heat produced by datacenters, which according to the office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy "are one of the most energy-intensive building types, consuming 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building. Collectively, these spaces account for approximately 2% of the total U.S. electricity use." (Strutt, et al., 2020). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the reliance of communities on datacenter infrastructure anticipates an increased insurgence of their rapid growth. In some ways, because of the extreme heat-generation from densely packed information technology (IT) equipment, the datacenter provides a unique testbed for architectural systems research that may lend to future low-energy and reduced embodied carbon footprint solutions for buildings in general.

Energy in the form of excessive heat is often considered problematic to either human comfort or machine functionality. Many modes of heat removal by mechanical systems are based on thermodynamics of sensible and latent content of air mixtures and require large amounts of energy input to modify the air-mix to a reasonable temperature. According to the International Energy Agency, "Cooling is the fastest-growing use of energy in buildings. Without action to address energy efficiency, energy demand for space cooling will more than triple by 2050 – consuming as much electricity as all of China and India today" (IEA, 2018).

Current methods of waste heat utilization are reviewed for district-scale and building-scale examples, including those in Scandinavia and the US. In some cases the large-scale datacenter waste heat is coupled to heating needs for housing at district scales (Malkawi, et al. 2018), while in other cases edge-cloud datacenter waste heat is utilized directly within the same building for low-income residential units enabling reduced energy costs and open access to internet. (Litvak 2017) In addition, the design research presented here focuses on system-scale waste-heat utilization through biomaterials, both for carbon sequestration and biofuel production.

With this work, one of the useful tools for defining the thermodynamic flows and identifying useful waste-heat output is the Sankey diagram, which provides a visual indication of relative energy values and states across the comprehensive building design. In addition, the work demonstrates the importance of integrating empirical material prototype testing alongside simulation analyses, including those for computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) and building-scale energy consumption. In combination, these co-linked tools and methods provide insight for architectural research and design by emphasizing the potential relationships of energy flows, materials, and functions. Integration of such techniques in the design process might allow us to shift away from increasing dependency on high-energy cooling systems and ultimately improve the performance of buildings in the midst of intense socio-environmental climate change and pandemic challenges with increasing temperatures and dependency on internet.

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