Creation of a database to help better understand human thermal comfort in residential and commercial buildings is being funded through an ASHRAE grant program.

Veronika Foldvary, a visiting Ph.D. student at the Center for the Built Environment, University of California, Berkeley, is one of 18 students who will receive a grant through the ASHRAE Graduate Student Grant-In-Aid Award Program, which is designed to encourage students to continue their education in preparation for service in the HVACR industry. The grants, totaling $180,000, are awarded to full-time graduate students of ASHRAE-related technologies.

The project would identify previous thermal comfort and occupant responses in residential and commercial buildings worldwide. Foldvary would collect that data to construct an international database, which would include measurements of all the physical conditions affecting thermal comfort (air temperature, humidity, air movement, radiant temperature and occupant clothing and metabolic rate) plus subjective surveys (thermal sensation, comfort, perceived air quality and wherever possible, adaptive behavior and interaction with building controls).

“The database would be used to analyze trends in thermal comfort and behavior patterns and evaluate current comfort prediction tools, as well as their relevance to different building types, climates, cultures and demographics,” Foldvary said. “We would convene discussion groups to address issues of data analysis and representation to ensure its usefulness to the global research community. The analysis will provide the evidence base for developing improved international standards.”

Additional grant recipients are:

Paul Armatis, Oregon State University: Experimental validation of models for heat and mass performance evaluation of membrance based energy recovery devices.
Daniel Fernandes Bacellar, University of Maryland: Airside heat transfer augmentation using multiscale analysis and shape optimization for compact heat exchanges with small hydraulic diameters.
Jennifer Date, Concordia University: Model-based control of convectively conditioned thermal zones for energy and load management.
Amin Engarnevis, University of British Columbia: Effect of humidity, temperature and particle fouling on permeation properties of polymer membrances.
Seyed Ghahfarrokhy, University of Toronto: Development and validation of a novel approach to quantify the impact of human exposure to particle-bound contaminants in the indoor environment.
Sara Gilani, Carleton University: Occupant modeling for prediction of comfort and building energy performance in office spaces.
Kristen Jaczko, Queen’s University in Kingston: Advanced integrated energy systems for high-performance buildings.
Leigh Lesnick, University of Texas at Austin: Characterization of air mixing with different HVAC systems and assessment of potential for airborne infectious disease transmission in schools.
Hongwan Li, University of Texas Austin: Evaluation of HVAC filters a sampling mechanism for SVOC pollutants in U.S. schools.
Ryan Milcarek, Syracuse University: Flame-assisted fuel cell for micro combined heating and power systems; also receives the Grant-In-Aid Life Member Club grant designation given to the highest-rated applicants and supported by a financial contribution from the club.
Fuxin Niu, University of Alabama: Uncertainty quantifications and operation optimization of buildings as virtual batteries for the grid with high penetrations of renewables.
Sukjoon Oh, Texas A&M University: Quantifying the energy savings benefits of smart meters and home automation for single-family residences.
Parichehr Salimifrad, Pennsylvania State University: Transport of indoor biological dust.
Yi Wang, National University Singapore: Effectiveness of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation systems in air-handling units in enhancing IAQ and energy performance; also receives the Grant-In-Aid Life Member Club grant designation.
Jiu Xu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Oil separation compressors.