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In the 60 years since the widespread adoption of air conditioning, buildings have been designed and engineered to indoor environmental criteria in which the ideal was uniform, static, and tightly controlled. This has had large energy consequences (40% of US energy used in buildings, roughly half of this on heating and cooling) and has almost never satisfied more than 80% of a building’s occupants. Working from physiological principles one can create individual comfort at much reduced energy inputs, and by taking advantage of distributed control opportunities, one can satisfy a building’s entire occupancy. The most efficient systems will exploit the long-neglected benefits of air movement cooling and radiant heating in addition to the conventional control of temperature and humidity.
To bring about change in the buildings one needs a broad spectrum approach, including changes to standards, new hardware, and new approaches to controls. Examples will be given of progress in each of these areas.