Once a building is designed without its energy performance in mind, the problems of high consumption cannot be fixed after the fact even with the most efficient technology. To reduce energy consumption, the Center for Building Energy Research (CBER) focuses on the relationship between building design strategies and innovative technologies. An efficiently designedbuilding makes renewable energy sources and technologies a feasible integrated alternative to fossil fuels. Building energy consumption adds up to 40% of the US primary energy consumption and highly contributes to CO2 emissions. Thus building energy research is a key component of the global striving toward a sustainable future.
The Center supports interdisciplinary and collaborative research between disciplines such as architecture, agriculture, geological and atmospheric sciences, business, mechanical, construction and electrical engineering, material science and engineering as well as interior design, environmental psychology and behavioral science.
CBER endeavors to reduce energy consumption include spatial composition, reducing heat gain and loss through the building envelopes and using renewable resources like solar power and wind energy, natural ventilation, energy modeling and performance simulation, improving the efficiency of HVAC systems and industrial processes, improving indoor air quality, enhancing human comfort and productivity while reducing waste, implementing alternative energy sources, and promoting green building technology in building designs. The center also provides opportunities for technical and continuing education.
CBER was the ‘home’ of the Iowa State 2009 Solar Decathlon Team, which successfully built an 800 sq. ftf home solely powered by the sun. CBER is conducting research on the energy performance of the house at its permanent location at Honey Creek State Park, a major Iowa DNR destination resort.
CBER serves as a resource for undergraduate and graduate students, building operators and others involved in building energy technology and issues. The center also works with industry and government agencies to develop energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings, processes and equipment. Many of CBER’s research efforts focus on solving problems affecting people living in Iowa and the Midwest, helping to reduce energy usage and improve air quality.