The innovation and global impact of the Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics (CPBD) in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Architecture have caught the attention of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The center received the NSF's 2013 Alexander Schwartzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation for its "exemplary research contribution to technology innovation and its positive impact on technology, industry and to the society as a whole."
University Professor Vivian Loftness says the award is particularly significant as the NSF has not traditionally recognized building science.
"Now, however, building science is gaining in awareness among engineers, scientists and federal agencies, primarily because of concerns relating to energy consumption and the world's focus on reducing our carbon footprint," she explained.
Honored for their contributions were CBPD Director Volker Hartkopf, Loftness, the late Professor David Archer, Senior Researcher Azizan Aziz, Professor Khee Poh Lam and Professor and Head of the School of Architecture Stephen Lee. The CBPD was selected to receive the prize by the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Association Committee.
"Our integrated approach to the arts and sciences has helped us to gain this recognition," said Lam.
The CBPD team has worked for decades all over the globe, and the ensuing results of those efforts have been highly lauded and appreciated by those for whom the work was done, says Hartkopf.
"Our work and positive results represent major opportunities for working within emerging NSF efforts on a global basis," he said. "For instance, NSF now is reaching out to leading edge research organizations around the world and in May 2013 will hold a meeting in Washington, D.C., with 47 countries that are ready to collaborate in research, development and education to address our planet's challenges and opportunities for sustainability."
The Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize is awarded annually in honor of the I/UCRC's founder, longtime manager and current honorary leader.
Now directed by Rathindra DasGupta, the I/UCRC provides opportunities to partner with other leading institutions to conduct industrially relevant research, receive seed funding and recognition as an NSF research center with access to professional resources, and enhance global competitiveness.
In 1990, the CBPD was the first I/UCRC recognized by the NSF that was focused on the building industry. The second I/UCRC in the building industry was established with the assistance of CMU's CBPD at the University of California, Berkeley. Now, the CBPD is a partner with the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the City College of New York within the City University of New York (CUNY).
The CBPD works closely with the Advanced Building Systems Integration Consortium (ABSIC), a university-industry-government partnership founded in 1987 that pursues research, demonstration and development toward improving the quality and performance of commercial buildings and building systems.
Working with ABSIC partners, Carnegie Mellon's CBPD built the Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace (IW) in 1997. The IW is the first living (continuously improved and updated) and lived-in (experienced, measured, reported and verified performance) laboratory focused on energy, the environment, economics, human health, organizational productivity and best building systems integration practices.
The IW — focused on what the CBPD teaches, researches, develops and demonstrates — resulted in the center's team members consulting on major breakthrough products in the United States, Canada, China, Germany, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
Hartkopf, Loftness, Lee and Lam are among more than 100 CMU faculty working together across disciplines to solve the world's toughest energy challenges through the university's Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.
Pictured above, l-r: Khee Poh Lam, Vivian Loftness, Volker Hartkopf, Stephen Lee and Azizan Aziz.