Category Archives: News

Meggers wins IP Accelerator Fund to build Spherical Motion Average Radiant Temperature (SMART) building sensor and 3D thermal renderer

Current building controls only maintain the thermal conditions of room air. Air temperature is only one of several factors that impact thermal comfort while heat transfer by radiation from surfaces influence roughly half of thermal comfort. To address these issues, Meggers’ lab has developed an inexpensive, non-contacting mean radiant temperature sensor that measures surface radiant temperatures, calculates the mean radiant temperature at any given location, tracks temperatures in a 3D space, and is also capable of perceiving the presence of occupants. The sensor can be deployed for building controls, diagnostics by HVAC technicians, and during the design phase of a structure. Usage of the sensor would not only increase comfort for occupants, but also save money and boost energy efficiency in buildings. For this project, Meggers obtained a provisional patent and developed working prototypes. Funds from this grant will be dedicated to producing a compact and robust design for the sensor, verifying performance of the device, and developing a user interface and building system integration in collaboration with Siemens and Princeton’s facilities department. The end goal is a sleek, compact, marketable product and application package that seamlessly allows analysis of any space.

More on the Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund

The University’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund awards gap funding to Princeton investigators with the goal of fostering and advancing the development of nascent technologies from University labs into commercial development, and, ultimately, the global marketplace.

The fund addresses the development gap between early stage research and attractive, investment- and venture-grade opportunities. The fund is meant to support proof-of-concept work, data collection, and/or prototyping that can yield important information or further development that would make a technology more commercially attractive.

Announcement by the Andlinger Center of Energy and the Environment can be found here.

Meggers Awarded Project X Fund for Harvesting Thermal Energy with Geological Sequestration

Forrest Meggers, assistant professor of architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, has received funding from Princeton University’s Project X Innovation Fund for a novel experiment that explores deep geothermal wells to heat buildings and cities while simultaneously sequestering carbon dioxide emissions.

Heat or geothermal energy naturally emanates from the Earth’s molten core. Harnessing this power requires drilling deep boreholes into the ground, which is an expensive process. In Meggers’ project, “Sequestering building heat demand and CO2 simultaneously: investigating wells for heat and CO2 injection,” Meggers proposes utilizing existing deep wells that have been used to extract fossil fuels to sequester CO2 and tap underground heat. This mitigates costs for drilling new holes.

“In preliminary work, we have leveraged data from the recently released National Geothermal Database System to investigate how a large network of existing holes can be exploited for medium-­-grade geothermal heat,” said Meggers. “The dataset for Pennsylvania shows 18,000 wells with typical depths of more than 1000 meters and temperatures more than 35 degrees Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat can be pumped directly into buildings.”

The geothermal energy would be harnessed for a district heating system, where heat for household and commercial use would be generated in a centralized location and distributed throughout a district. An alternative to individual boilers, engineers say district heating is more energy efficient, has lower carbon emissions, and saves money over the long run. District heating systems have been utilized in the Netherlands and Iceland.

Meggers proposes using pressurized carbon dioxide to transfer heat up and down from the boreholes’ terminus to the surface. The CO2 is sequestered underground for this use – thus reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions.

In this proposed two-year study, Meggers and his team plan on building a model setup of the well system at the School of Architecture’s new Embodied Computation Laboratory. This involves drilling a 2,000-foot borehole.

More on the Project X Fund

Project X Fund, whose goal is to support bold thinking and unconventional ideas, provides seed funding to engineers who wish to pursue projects that may be outside their formal areas of expertise or are too speculative to attract conventional funding. The fund, established by Lynn Shostack in memory of her late husband, David Gardner ’69, has supported research ranging from an exploration of techniques to sterilize hospital rooms to the development of an idea for playing realistic three-dimensional sound from conventional speakers.

Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

The mission of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment is to develop solutions to ensure our energy and environmental future. To this end, the center supports a vibrant and expanding program of research and teaching in the areas of sustainable energy-technology development, energy efficiency, and environmental protection and remediation. A chief goal of the center is to translate fundamental knowledge into practical solutions that enable sustainable energy production and the protection of the environment and global climate from energy-related anthropogenic change.

Announcement can also be found on the Andlinger Center of Energy and Environment’s website here.

CHAOS hosts USGBC tour and lecture at Princeton

Forrest and the CHAOS team hosted the New Jersey chapter of the United States Green Building Council for a tour of campus buildings, including the new Architecture Laboratory and the Andlinger Center. Forrest delivered a lecture on Architecture-Engineering-Sustainability, and engaged in a lively dialogue on future potentials in the space between architecture and engineering amongst many practicing architects and engineers.

Link to the event:

Forrest presents at Symposium at University of Minnesota on (Re)Generative Architecture

Forrest presented on Oct 28th on a panel with Kiel Moe of Harvard GSD and Bill Braham of UPenn. The event titled “Sustainability is Dead: Architecture as a (Re)generator” questioned the role of architecture and the use of sustainability in the field. Forrest presented on the new possibilities for innovation in architecture by changing the design paradigms and perspectives on how heating and cooling should be accomplished in buildings.

Forrest meets with collaborators at Berkeley Center for the Built Environment

Forrest was invited to Berkeley for the annual meeting of the CBE including meetings with former collaborator in Singapore and at Princeton, Jovan Pantelic, in his new role as professional researcher at the Berkeley Center for the Built Environment. Research in advanced sensors, comfort, and radiant heating and cooing were all discussed, and current CHAOS research projects were well-received and many potential collaborations were initiated. Forrest also met with Prof. Ed Arens, who shares a mutual appreciation for the Olgyay research in Princeton in the 50’s and 60’s. Arens will be a Highlight Seminar speaker at the Andlinger Center Feb 8th.