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Baby, it’s cold outside!

Linking weather forecasts to HVAC controls to increase comfort

Friday, January 25
Noon – 1:00 PM
RUCH 103

Buildings use more energy than any other segment of the US economy. Of that energy, most goes towards heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC). Despite consuming vast amounts of energy, many occupants of these buildings still experience thermal discomfort in their homes and offices every day. This seminar will cover the factors that affect thermal comfort and how radiant slabs can deliver efficient heating and cooling while enhancing occupant satisfaction. However, these radiant systems do not operate on conventional time scales and there is often a delay between a thermostat’s signal and the system’s response. This research lays out a framework of how to overcome this problem by linking energy models to weather forecasts to inform the controls. Using the model to guide the controls has the potential to improve both energy and comfort in a building.


Dr. L. Damon Woods is a licensed mechanical engineer who has been working at the Integrated Design Lab since 2012. His current research focus is on the integration of surface temperatures into building energy management systems. Dr. Woods has taught courses in thermodynamics and energy modeling. In the office, he spends his time working on energy models and estimating savings from energy upgrades; out of the office he is usually fly fishing or gardening. Dr. Woods studied mechanical engineering and earned his B.S. from Montana State University, his M.S. from Boise State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Idaho.