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Indoor air quality, ventilation and energy conservation in buildings: innovation and integration (Part 2).

I am delighted to see this topical issue completed as another outcome of IAQVEC 2010--the 7th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation and Energy Conservation in Buildings, August 15-18, 2010, in Syracuse, New York, USA. I sincerely thank all people who made this publication possible.

Part 1 of the topical issue included 16 articles, which were published in Volume 17, Issue 4 (August 2011) of HVAC&R Research. Part 2 includes the following additional 22 articles.

* The first article, Indoor Air Quality in Sustainable, Energy-Efficient Buildings--Indoor Air Quality and Energy, was presented as a keynote at IAQVEC 2010. It emphasizes the need to address indoor air quality while achieving energy efficiency. For the first time, it systematically identified measures that could improve both, as well as those that could improve one while negatively impact the other. After all, buildings are built for people. Indoor environmental quality for occupant heath, comfort, performance, and well-being is a goal that cannot be compromised as we strive to achieve energy-efficient buildings.

* The second and third articles address building energy efficiency at whole building scale, analyzing major factors for energy use and reasons for the discrepancy between actual and design performance of buildings. They are followed by four articles addressing energy efficiency measures at site and neighborhoods scale. The fourth and fifth articles address onsite energy supply and demand in buildings. The sixth and seventh articles present methods to evaluate the energy performance in neighborhoods. More opportunities exist in matching variable renewable energy supplies onsite (solar, wind, geothermal) to variable energy demand when multiple buildings are considered. This is an area that deserves intensive research in connection with urban planning.

* The next set of articles (8 through 12) present a variety of innovative technologies, including advanced fault detection and diagnosis methods, combined chilled ceiling and displacement ventilation system, moisture buffering materials, and microbial species for regenerative bio-filters. The novel heat flow models (HFMs) for fault detection and diagnosis has the potential to be further developed into a systematic approach for building control. The concept could also be extended to building system design in which simulation models are used to map the heat, air, moisture, and pollutant flows in the system to identify "weakest links" and opportunities for improvement.

* Articles 13 through 15 present studies involving occupant activities, including how their perceived environmental control impacts their (perceived) thermal comfort, how opening windows and doors affects the ventilation rate and indoor air quality, and how cooking could impact their exposure and cancer risk. These articles illustrate how important it is to consider occupants as an essential part of building energy and environmental systems (BEESs). They are exposed to and perceive the indoor environment and, hence, ultimately define if the environment is acceptable. They can also greatly impact the operation and performance of the system through their behavior.

* Articles 16 and 17 also deal with building occupants, but focus on how the indoor environment could impact occupant's psychological and physical states as well as their productivity and creativity performance. These studies are exploratory in nature and, perhaps, represent non-traditional areas of HVACs. Yet they are very important for the understanding of the mechanisms through which human occupants are affected by indoor environmental quality. These studies have the potential to reveal the combined effect of various indoor environmental factors (thermal, air quality, lighting, and acoustics) on occupants' productivity and creativity, hence suggesting new ideas for developing breakthrough technologies for both indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency.

* The last set of articles (18 through 22) present new development in modeling and simulation tools, including multi-zone models for whole building energy and indoor air quality performance analysis, a model for analysis of natural ventilation systems, a model for analysis of outdoor ozone penetration through building envelope, and a 3D graphical method for life-cycle assessment of the construction process by using building information modeling (BIM).

As noted in Part 1's Editorial, behavior-wise, BEESs are intrinsically multi-scale in space and time. It is imperative to address the interactions between the different scales to identify areas for integration and developing innovative strategies that achieve both environmental and energy performance goals for buildings.

Process-wise, the design, construction and operation of BEESs are multi-dimensional. It involves: (1) multi-actors, including management, architectural, and engineering; (2) multi-stages, including preliminary assessment, conceptual design, detailed design, construction, commissioning, operation, reuse, and demolition; and (3) multi-factors, including climate and site, form and massing, envelope structure and assemblies, internal configuration, environmental systems, energy and water, and material use. Furthermore, these processes have multi-performance objectives, including functional, aesthetical, social, economic, and environmental. An integrated and holistic systems thinking is necessary to develop new ideas, methodologies, tools, and technologies that would improve and optimize these processes.

Many questions remain to be answered in the study of multi-scale, multi-dimensional, and multi-objective BEESs. Some were discussed at IAQVEC 2010 as listed in Part 1 's Editorial. In the following, I pose additional questions pertaining to systems coordination, integration, and optimization:

1) How to properly evaluate and assess the performance of BEESs taking into account the multiple objectives?

2) How to characterize the multi-scale dynamics of BEESs accounting for the interdependences between subsystems?

3) How to develop and apply multi-objective optimization techniques for the design, construction, and operation of BEESs?

4) How to effectively and efficiently coordinate among different design teams with the assistance of BIM and simulation tools?

5) How to incorporate occupants' behavior and preference in achieving optimal operation of the BEESs?

These are some of the most important and challenging research questions of our time in the field. Answers to these questions would greatly accelerate the process of sustainability development in the building sector. Immediate past ASHRAE President (2010-11 society year) Lynn G. Bellenger gave an opening keynote speech on "Modeling a Sustainable World" at IAQVEC 2010. We were all saddened by her passing away on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. However, her words of wisdom and encouragement will continue to inspire us all:

Our challenge is to approach every project with innovation, not repetition, and to challenge ourselves to find the elegant solutions that will minimize energy use and provide exceptional indoor environmental quality .... Today, this month, this year, I'm calling on you to be the heroes. To set the example in energy efficiency, in elegant, innovative solutions to meeting the energy needs of today and the future. To model a sustainable world. (Lynn G. Bellenger; excerpt from her 2010-11 presidential address, ASHRAE Journal, August 2010)

DOI: 10.1080/10789669.2012.638874

Jianshun "Jensen" Zhang, PhD

Chairman, IAQVEC 2010

Associate Editor, HVAC&R Research


Professor and Director

Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory (BEESL)

Department of Machanical and Aerospace Engineering

Department of Civile and Environmental Engineering

Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Zhang, Jianshun "Jensen"
Publication:HVAC & R Research
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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