New System May Reduce Energy Consumption of Denver HVAC Units

New System May Reduce Energy Consumption of Denver HVAC Units

[UC Berkeley News Center, August 27, 2013]
BERKELEY — Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are working to take research innovations from their labs into the real world to cut commercial building energy consumption by close to a third, and give office workers an unprecedented sense of control over their thermal environments.

Armed with a recently announced $1.6 million grant from the California Energy Commission, researchers from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) are refining, testing and promoting a new set of tools to enable more efficient temperature control in buildings by using input from building occupants, a network of web-based applications, and a user-responsive Personal Comfort System (PCS).

Aim for Comfort

In Denver and other parts of the country, this news comes as a welcome development for office workers who have long been suffering through either too hot or too cold temperatures at the workplace. Commercial buildings usually just set temperatures to one level, so the amount of heat or cooling provided is rarely is to everyone’s satisfaction. Moreover, this practice also expends a lot in terms of energy; there’s waste where efficient consumption would have translated into more cost savings.

At the University of California, Berkeley, researchers are currently looking into the Personal Comfort System (PCS) that will focus heating and cooling on certain parts of the body like the face, torso, and feet. A simple fan on the work desk and foot warmer on the floor will be wired to software in a PC or phone app to allow adjustment of the temperature accordingly. The result should be a significant drop in heating and cooling costs.

Despite the personalized nature of this system, by no means will it totally replace current HVAC systems (at least for now). While fans draw air from the surroundings and blast it to the target, current Denver HVAC systems, as well as systems throughout the country, for that matter, will still be responsible for providing heating and cooling for the upper half of the body. However, it will now be possible to adjust the thermostat to a more efficient setting; UC Berkeley estimates that natural gas consumption can be cut by almost 40 percent and electricity use by 30 percent.

The PCS, when perfected, will be a welcome addition to any Denver heating and cooling system. Bigger modifications to general HVAC systems will certainly be needed sometime in the future, but not just yet. When the time comes, it would be best if you entrust those services to established and trusted HVAC service providers like Total Plumbing.