(Feb. 18, 2014) -- For the first time in university history, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has been invited to participate in an International Energy Agency (IEA) project along with many of the world's top research universities. UTSA mechanical engineering assistant professor Bing Dong has been invited to lead a study that will set an international standard for measuring energy-related occupant behavior in buildings.
Adjusting the thermostat, switching lights on and off, opening and closing windows, pulling up and down window blinds and moving between spaces are all energy-related occupant behaviors that have a real impact on how much energy a building uses.
According to the IEA, different groups from all over the world are conducting occupant behavior research; however, to date, the researchers have not used a common occupancy behavior model causing their results to vary greatly. The IEA project will bring the world's leading researchers together to define and simulate occupant behavior in a consistent and standard way in order to solve a problem that every country faces.
"I feel very proud to be leading this project because it involves many top universities from across the world," said Dong. "Being invited to contribute to an IEA project symbolizes that UTSA is truly a top-tier research institution."
With funding from the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute at UTSA, Dong and his team will lead the project's first research objective: to provide a standard definition and simulation methodology for occupant movement within buildings.
Using a complex network of infrared sensors that detect movement coupled with sensors that monitor energy consumption, Dong has developed software that captures and transfers information every five minutes into a database. The database allows him to see patterns in energy consumption in commercial and residential buildings. His test beds will include one wing of the Applied Engineering and Technology Building on the UTSA Main Campus and four residential houses in West San Antonio designed for low-income residents by UTSA graduate students under the direction of Professor Taeg Nishimoto in the College of Architecture.
Dong's model of tracking and measuring occupant movement will be used as the standard by which the other participating groups in the IEA project conduct their research over the next four years. In the end, this collaboration will create an international standard for measuring occupancy behavior as it relates to building energy efficiency.
The four-year project involves 23 countries, 53 universities, national labs and architecture companies including Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University, Rutgers University, Purdue University, University of North Texas, University of Alabama, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Autodesk Inc.
The IEA is an autonomous organization that promotes reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. The IEA's four main areas of focus are energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide. The IEA works with countries to find solutions to shared energy and environmental concerns. For more information, visit www.iea.org.
>> Learn more at the UTSA College of Engineering website.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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