Fall  2002: Environmental Control Systems I

Campus Building

The Elephant in the Stairwell

Our study deals with the architecture building in which we spend most of our time. It is common for students and faculty to complain about thermal discomfort depending upon their location within the building. The areas that seem to have some of the most significant temperature disparities are the major staircases that allow circulation throughout the building. We examined a completely enclosed stairwell. Much like the rest of the building, the stairwell is built of reinforced concrete. It was constructed as a part of the 1970's addition and originally was an exterior facing stairwell. A subsequent addition in 1988 changed the space, leaving it entirely enclosed within the building. While the thermal conditions of the space were obviously affected by this alteration, the air conditioning distribution into the area was not. As a result, it is common for this part of the building to have extreme thermal conditions. In the summer, many found it to be extremely cold, while in these winter months, a frequent complaint is that the space is unusually hot.

Mark Couet, Jan Eklund, John Krotchko, Scott Mooney
GTF: Janelle Black


This Old House: The Shelton McMurphy-Johnson House

For our case study we looked at the temperature and relative humidity of the Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House in Eugene, Oregon. We hope to draw attention to the importance of preserving historic structures and to learn more about the thermal issues specific to historic house museums. In our study we collected two batches of data in November 2002. The results were compared to recommended temperature and rh standards for historic house museums. We found that the interior environment mirrors the exterior environment, probably due to insufficient insulation. The average temperature and rh fell within the recommended guidelines, and fluctuations were moderate, not extreme.

Sarah Hill, Maria McMorran, Crawford Smith, Rose Vadnais
GTF: Janelle Black


Burning Down the House

We hypothesized that heating with electricity would prove less expensive than heating with wood during the Fall 2002 study. This hypothesis was tested by charting heat gains in the space with HOBO data loggers for both a fireplace and an electric heater. By comparing the performance of the two and the cost of operating each, we determined that overall  electricity was less expensive fuel to operate at this time in Eugene, Oregon. Our experiment also took into consideration the environmental costs of each form of heating; however these results were less explicit.

Barrett Burtner, Sara Goenner, Jon Meendering
GTF: Keith Simon