UC Davis Energy Affiliate Forum

On April 19, 2018, the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute and its affiliated research centers (Western Cooling Efficiency Center, California Lighting Technology Center, Center for Water-Energy Efficiency) hosted their first joint Affiliates Forum. Nearly 150 people attended, including current and potential affiliates, as well as current and potential collaborators at UC Davis and state and non-profit agencies. The theme of this forum was Integrated Energy Solutions.

Download Presentation Slides, brochures and Pictures

Assessing the True Financial Value of Thermal Energy Storage for Utility Grid Operators

The accurate valuation of thermal energy storage devices is important for both resource adequacy planning and providing proper financial compensation for the service that they provide. Since system capacity values in electric power transactions are based upon predicted, but rare, heat storm impacts, a reliable and verifiable methodology is a critical missing link in equitably and accurately valuing, verifying, and compensating distributed energy resources in the marketplace. We believe that the current valuation methodology is unacceptably inaccurate, and that the proposed alternative merits further detailed investigation.

Project Partner & Sponsor: Ingersoll Rand (Trane)

Read the Case Study 

View the Project Poster

Ventilation in Schools

Schools sought to participate in CEC-funded research on Proposition 39 upgrades

The Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC), an engineering research center at the University of California, Davis, has received a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to demonstrate promising approaches to improve ventilation, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency in California classrooms. Together with its research partners, the Energy Efficiency Center and Department of Public Health Sciences staff at UC Davis, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the WCEC team will conduct a 3-year study to:

  • Survey the energy efficiency and ventilation characteristics of recent HVAC retrofits in schools,
  • Field test the technical performance of advanced HVAC systems designed to deliver both improved ventilation and energy efficiency;
  • Estimate the potential benefits of widespread adoption of advanced HVAC systems, in terms of student health and performance, and environmental impact; and
  • Identify ways to address market barriers that currently impede broader market adoption of advanced HVAC technologies by California

Schools needed for Phase I
In the first phase, the research team will characterize the energy efficiency and ventilation characteristics of HVAC retrofits in California schools completed in recent years (2013-2016). To do this, we will conduct in-field evaluations of 100 classrooms around the State for which HVAC retrofits have been completed through Proposition 39 since 2013. WCEC engineers will visit each classroom to collect information on the HVAC system and ventilation design, measure the noise the HVAC system generates, and gather information about classroom features. They will also install unobtrusive devices to record temperature, humidity and CO2 levels for one month. Typically, site visits to collect data from classrooms are scheduled on days when students are not present, to minimize disruption.

Teachers who work in the classrooms enrolled in the study will be asked to complete a survey on their experience as an occupant of the room. Questions relate to comfort when the HVAC system is heating and cooling, thermostat control, and air quality. The online survey can be taken any time, at the teachers’ convenience. It should take 15-20 minutes to complete, after which we will send teachers a $25 Target gift card.

As part of the study we are also gathering information on how decisions are made about HVAC equipment purchases and maintenance. For that, we will ask relevant facilities staff from schools enrolled in the study to participate in an interview with one of our researchers. Interviews will be scheduled at the staffs’ convenience, and interviewees will also be offered a $25 Target gift card.

Schools that participate in our study may request a summary of the observations our engineers noted while gathering data from 5-10 classrooms and HVAC systems. The typical problems identified in schools often have simple fixes that can immediately improve air quality, energy efficiency and occupant experience.
The data collected from Phase I will allow the researchers to establish an understanding of the baseline conditions statewide by characterizing the HVAC efficiency, ventilation design, noise, occupant experience, and barriers to adoption of high efficiency systems. These findings will inform our recommendations to synergistically improve ventilation and indoor environmental quality while providing HVAC and whole-building energy efficiency retrofits in California schools.

Who is eligible for the study?
Eligibility for the study is based on several criteria:

  • Schools must be located in SCE, PG&E or SDG&E territory
  • Schools must have installed HVAC system upgrades using Prop 39 funds within the last 3 years
  • HVAC replacements must serve single-zone classrooms
  • At least 5 eligible HVAC replacements must have been made at a single school

If you’re unsure whether your school meets this criteria we would be happy to discuss it with you.

How can schools enroll in the study?
Schools that meet the eligibility criteria outlined above can contact the research team by email at k12study@ucdavis.edu or meet with WCEC researcher Sarah Outcault in person at the Green Schools Summit. She will circulate flyers at sessions related to Prop 39 and meet with attendees at the CEC booth during the Expo on Wednesday and Thursday.

WCEC Summer Newsletter

In WCEC’s Summer Newsletter, we will look at:

  • WCEC’s upcoming projects funded by the CEC’s EPIC program
  • Research being done to help bridge some of the market barriers for energy efficient HVAC adoption with links to a video presentation and the project paper
  • Recent WCEC Graduates
  • Highlights from this year’s Affiliates Forum with presentation slides and poster session posters

Read the Newsletter

Undergraduate Research Fellowship for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Undergraduate engineers are invited to apply to join an interdisciplinary research team to advance simulation of energy efficient building systems.

What the Fellowship Program can offer to students:

  • Gain practical experience with state of the art energy solutions
  • Develop numerical simulations of efficient heating and cooling strategies
  • Complete specialized coursework in energy efficiency
  • Develop expertise with simulation of building energy systems
  • Professional development and industrial experience

Applicants will have experience with and/or interest in:

  • Computer modeling of physical systems
  • Heat transfer and thermodynamics
  • Design and control of complex multi-mode systems
  • Energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment
  • Matlab/Simulink, Python, C++, Excel as modeling tools

For more information

Download more information: DOE Undergraduate Research Fellowship Overview

Students, Apply now for an Interview:

or contact Jonathan Woolley directly: jmwoolley@ucdavis.edu | (530) 204 7619

Automated Aerosol-Sealing of Building Envelopes

Demonstration images of the Aerosol Envelope Sealing technology


The goal of this project is to demonstrate a new technology for automating the air sealing of building envelopes. This technology is expected to reduce overall sealing costs while also achieving better air-tightness than conventional methods. One study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has shown that reducing infiltration to reasonable levels can result in a 30% heating and cooling energy savings. This result is based on the average energy savings predicted by models of multiple commercial building types in five major U.S. cities. Besides the energy impact, limiting uncontrolled infiltration by sealing building envelope leaks is critical to an effective ventilation strategy by facilitating control of the source of make-up air for occupied spaces.


Thermal Moisture Imaging (TMI) will be coordinating demonstrations and performing sealing work

Demonstration Host Site Locations:

  • Navy – Pennsylvania Installations
  • Parris Island, SC
  • Fort Bragg, NC
  • Quantico, VA
  • Travis AFB, CA

Status > May 2016:


Custom Pressure Testing Apparatus at WCEC’s Laboratory in Davis, CA

WCEC has an approved demonstration plan and will begin demonstrations at the end of June. Six buildings have been identified at Quantico MCB and Ft. Bragg Army Base in North Carolina. In addition, laboratory testing is underway for measuring the impact of application humidity on seal durability. Seals formed in the laboratory will be subjected to temperature and pressure cyclic testing in order to quantify seal performance.

2016 WCEC Affiliates Forum

A Gathering of HVAC Industry Stakeholders

Energy Efficiency Progress, Policy & Potential Development.

WCEC’s annual affiliates forum brings together HVAC industry stakeholders to discuss recent energy policy affecting the State of California, affiliate member news and developments, and research results published by WCEC. The forum’s goal is to create a diverse and relevant discussion on HVAC energy efficiency, pushing forward toward solutions and facilitating market impacts.



Mark1WCEC Year in Review – Mark Modera, WCEC Director

Director Mark Modera highlights some of WCEC’s research for the previous year including:

  • New refrigerant testing
  • Next generation heat pump testing
  • Feasibility of evaporative cooling in drought-ridden California
  • ASHRAE standard for Evaporative Pre-Coolers
  • User-Oriented Modeling tools for Climate Appropriate Air Conditioners
  • Create training videos for 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards

(Download the PDF Presentation)

Nancy1California Energy Policy: Old and NewNancy Skinner, Energy Efficiency Center

Nancy takes us through previous energy efficiency policy in California and highlights current and new measures such as:

  • Prop 39: Energy Efficient Schools
  • SB 350: Transportation Electrification
  • AB 802: Benchmarking and energy use disclosure program
  • AB 2514: Energy Storage Mandate

(Download the PDF Presentation)






Affiliate Highlight SessionJim McClendon, Director of Engineering, Walmart  //  Amit Gupta, CEO, Aeroseal  //  Steve Slayzak, Engineer, Seeley


Jim McClendon presents some insights on how Walmart handles deployment of energy efficient technologies/prototype testing over such a large portfolio of buildings in diverse geographical locations. (Download the PDF presentation)

Amit Gupta gives the history of Aeroseal and highlights its latest licensed technology: Automated sealing of building envelopes using aerosols. (Download the PDF presentation)

Steve Slayzak gives a brief overview of the purchase of Coolerado by Seeley and how their products compliment each other rather than compete.


Sarah1Market Barriers to Adoption of Efficient HVAC Retrofit Technologies – Sarah Outcault, Behavior Scientist, WCEC

Dr. Outcault presents information on why stakeholders choose to or not to buy, sell, adopt or promote energy efficient technologies.

(Download the PDF Presentation)

(Download the research report)







Theresa1WCEC Future ResearchVinod Naranayan, Associate Director, WCEC & Theresa Pistochini, Engineering Manager, WCEC

A brief look at some of the new research projects WCEC has started or will begin in the coming months:

  • Dispatchable pre-coolers for demand response
  • Aquachill remote technology
  • Sub Wet-bulb Evaporative chillers
  • De-humidification for Indoor Agriculture
  • Cost-constrained energy efficiency optimization for multifamily and commercial buildings
  • Ventilation solutions for California Schools
  • Shallow bore ground heat-exchangers for heat pumps
  • Energy efficient HVAC retrofits for residential buildings and more!

(Download the presentation)


Poster Session


This year’s forum featured a flexible, 2-hour lunch and poster session within WCEC’s office. Here are the posters that were displayed during that session:

Does Evaporative Cooling Make Sense in Arid Climates?—Nasim Tajmand, Graduate Student Researcher, WCEC

Multi-Tenant Light Commercial Modeling Research –Nelson Dichter, Associate Engineer, WCEC

A New Termination Control Method for a Clothes Drying Process in a Clothes Dryer—Assistant Engineer, Caton Mande, WCEC

Performance Evaluation of a Thermal Storage Solution—Assistant Engineer, Jose Garcia, WCEC

High Performance Waste Heat Recuperators for Heat Recovery Cycles—Vinod Naranayan, Associate Director, WCEC

(Download the Posters)

Modeling Hybrid Air Conditioners—the BUILD DOE Team: Jonathan Woolley, Associate Engineer, WCEC // Yuanxian Chen, Yitian Liang, Nicholas Cabrena, Kyle Cheung

(Download the Poster)

WCEC’s Marco Pritoni Featured in Washington Post Article

As the summer heats up, Americans are running their air conditioning more than ever. Author Chris Mooney of the Washington Post highlights the often overlooked, yet essential component to air conditioning: the thermostat. These devices are often confusing, and that confusion has lead to widespread misuse, increasing energy use and costs to the consumer.

While there are many previous reports that come to similar conclusions, the paper highlighted in the Washington Post asked respondents to upload photos of their thermostats. WCEC’s Marco Pritoni, co-author of this research paper is quoted in the Post with regards to these photos, “The responses to this survey paint a remarkable picture of a technology that is widely misunderstood by its users.”

Read the full Washington Post article here »

Read the Journal paper written by Marco Pritoni, Alan Meier, Cecilia Aragon, Daniel Perry, and Therese Peffer here »