Holly Samuelson (MDes ’09, DDes ’13), assistant professor of architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, been awarded a grant by Harvard’s Climate Change Solutions Fund, an initiative launched last year by Harvard University President Drew Faust to encourage multidisciplinary research around climate change. Samuelson will collaborate with Jose Guillermo Cedeño Laurent from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to develop new ways to measure the overall climate impact of existing buildings, using the Harvard University campus as a “living laboratory.”
Cedeño Laurent has developed a way to gather nuanced data on building occupant behavior, using an algorithm that connects environmental data points like temperature and noise with activity data collected from wearable devices. With this data, Cedeño Laurent and Samuelson aim to develop and apply a framework to assess a building’s performance on indoor environmental quality and energy use.
Applying these data and their conclusions into energy modeling software could provide new insights for creating eco- and user-friendly spaces.
“Out of the box, there are just so many thousands of knobs to turn in these energy simulations,” Samuelson told the Harvard Gazette. “They’re accurate enough to aid in certain design decisions, but to combat climate change, we need a more dependable way to predict the results of riskier investments in building design and operations.”
This second round of grants from the Climate Change Solutions Fund awarded over $1 million to 10 research projects, involving 20 faculty from across the University. Some of the other winning projects include research toward lowering the costs of solar cells by exploring the use of commercially available organic dyes as the solar energy conversion component, and an investigation into the impact of methane released from dams to try to identify feasible alternatives.
To learn more, please visit the Harvard Gazette’s coverage.