Christoph reinhart applying physics to the design of energy-efficient buildings mit energy initiative gas 85 vs 87

############

“At this point in designing buildings, the biggest uncertainty comes from user behavior,” says Reinhart, who heads the Sustainable Design Lab in MIT’s Department of Architecture. “Once you understand heat flow, it’s a very exact science to see how much heat to add or take from a space.” Christoph Reinhart, professor in the Building Technology Program of the Department of Architecture and head of the MIT Sustainable Design Lab. electricity physics formulas Photo: Kelley Travers, MITEI

Trained in physics, Reinhart made the move to architecture because he wanted to apply the scientific concepts he’d learned to make buildings more comfortable and energy-efficient. gas city indiana police department Today, he is internationally known for his work in “daylighting” (the use of natural light to illuminate building interiors) and urban-level environmental building performance analysis. The design tools that emerged from his lab are used by architects and urban planners in more than 90 countries.

The Sustainable Design Lab’s work has also produced two spinoff companies— Mapdwell, which provides individualized cost-benefit analyses for installing solar panels; and Solemma, which provides environmental analysis tools such as DIVA-for-Rhino, a highly optimized daylighting and energy modeling software component. (Reinhart is a co-founder and strategic development advisor at Mapdwell, and he is CEO of Solemma.)

While finishing his master’s thesis, Reinhart says, he also read an article that suggested that features such as color can be more important than performance to architects choosing a solar system—an idea that drove him to find ways to empower architects to consider aesthetics and the environmental performance of their designs at the same time. 3 gases He began this effort by investigating daylighting at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, Germany.

“You need good sky models and you need good rendering tools to model the light. electricity measurements units You also need computer science to make it faster—but that’s just the basics,” Reinhart says, noting that the next step is to consider how people perceive and use natural light. “This really nuanced way of thinking is what makes daylighting so fun and interesting.”

In 2012, he joined the faculty at MIT, where he typically supervises seven or eight graduate students, including about three working on their PhDs. gas laws definition chemistry Often, he also has students working in his lab through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. electricity symbols ks2 worksheet Several majoring in computer science have proved particularly helpful, he says. “It’s amazing what MIT students can implement.”

This work has underscored for him how significant user behavior is to calculating energy use. “For an individual building you can get a sense of the user behavior, but if you want to model a whole city, that problem explodes on you,” Reinhart says, noting that his team uses statistical methods such as Bayesian calibration to determine likely behaviors.

Essentially, they collect data on energy use and train the computer to recognize different scenarios—such as the energy used by different numbers of people and appliances. “We throw 800 user behaviors at a sample of buildings, and since we know how much energy these buildings actually use, we only keep those behavioral patterns that give us the right energy use,” Reinhart says, explaining that repeating the process produces a curve that indicates the buildings’ most likely uses. “We don’t know exactly where people are, but at the urban level, we get it right.”

Determining how energy is being used at this broad scale provides critical information for addressing the needs of the energy system as a whole, Reinhart says. cheapest gas in texas That’s why Reinhart is currently working with Exelon Corporation, a major national energy provider, to assess energy use in Chicago. “We can say, let’s foster these kinds of upgrades and pretty much guarantee that this is how the energy load throughout a neighborhood or for particular substations will change—which is just what utilities want to know,” he says. Food, energy, water nexus

For example, hydroponic container farming—a system of growing food without soil inside something like a shipping container—is now being promoted by companies in some cities, including Boston. This system typically uses more electricity than conventional farming does, but that energy use can be more than offset by the reduced need for transportation, Reinhart says. grade 6 electricity Already, Reinhart’s team has shown that rooftop and container farming on available land in Lisbon, Portugal, could theoretically meet the city’s total vegetable demand.