ArchLab, a building science studio at HMC Architects, is tracking BioBE’s avant-garde research linking microorganisms in the built environment to building energy conservation strategies while promoting healthy environments.
G.Z. Brown, director of Energy Studies and Buildings Laboratory, just returned from the National Energy Efficiency Technology Roadmapping Summit. Researchers in building energy use were invited to update and refine a portfolio of residential and commercial technology roadmaps. Their efforts helped to establish a “research agenda to guide technology investment strategies in building design and envelopes, lighting, HVAC, energy management systems, and other areas.” Brown described the Sloan-funded BioBE project and the potential for microorganisms to enhance the energy performance of buildings.
The New York Times article “The Cost of Cool” explains the downside of air-conditioners:
“Air-conditioners draw copious electricity, and deliver a double whammy in terms of climate change, since both the electricity they use and the coolants they contain result in planet-warming emissions.”
What if we can reduce energy use, while creating more diverse and healthier microbiological communities indoors?
Night flushing is a cooling technique that eliminates or decreases the need for air-conditioning by opening up a building at night, allowing large quantities of cold outdoor air to cool the building’s mass. During the day, when the outside air warms up, building occupants stay cool longer. We are currently analyzing the impacts of night flushing on microbes indoors.