There is more to buildings than bricks, mortar, steel and cables. There’s an underlying systems of energy, produced by the flow of power, people and information that turns an inanimate structure into something far more efficient, safe and adaptable to the needs of its occupants. From more efficient component development to advanced modeling and control strategies, researchers at UTRC are changing the modern building. We take a physics-based approach, exploring how a building’s design, inhabitants and systems interact. By evaluating, optimizing and integrating technologies based on these models, UTRC is establishing new solutions to long-standing energy, HVAC and mechanical challenges while improving the building’s efficiency, safety and occupant comfort.
Efficiency means delivering improved performance while reducing energy consumption and extending system life. UTRC researchers are advancing efficient building design and operation through a systems engineering approach, exploring physics-based solutions to effectively integrate and optimize HVAC, security and other systems while ensuring occupant comfort. This includes assisting in the development of breakthroughs such as the GeN2 Switch by Otis—the only family of machine-roomless, fully VDI Level I elevators in the world, which operate using less energy than a microwave. From cost-effective service technologies and advanced algorithms for video analytics and people tracking to advanced diagnostics and predictive technologies that support human-machine interaction, UTRC is developing a new generation of buildings that truly are “environmentally conscious.”
Finding ways to ensure a continuous, reliable supply of electricity—such as decentralization and stabilization of the grid, and reducing the use of fossil fuels—are key to improving society. UTRC is working on technologies and platforms that will make the goal of stable, efficient energy generation, distribution and end use a reality. Through our work in energy management systems, microgrids, building stock evaluation and energy storage, our researchers understand how greater integration leads to improved performance. UTRC’s flow battery technology is capable of 5 – 10 times the power density of a conventional flow battery system with controls and diagnostics to make energy systems operate optimally and autonomously. This technology will contribute to the efforts of making renewable energy viable, microgrids more effective, and electricity more available in situations when it’s needed most.
HVAC challenges aren’t always as common as you might expect, and our researchers work to ensure we can all take reliable, efficient environmental control for granted—from transportation refrigeration that delivers food and medicine to the next-generation heating, cooling and refrigeration technologies for both commercial and residential applications that consume a fraction of the energy. Evaluating and applying advanced refrigerants and developing control algorithms to optimize performance isn't taken for granted here, and our scientists work provides security to everyday living.
UTRC is currently developing advanced technologies for sensing, fire suppression, cyber-physical security and access control. Our researchers’ work supports a broad range of technologies for UTC Climate, Controls & Security fire safety and security businesses, including low-energy access control systems and video-based security systems. Our solutions also include advanced sensors for fire, smoke and CO detection, advanced water mist fire suppression systems and policy management for access control. These integrated systems focus on safeguarding facilities—large and small—so the occupants don’t have to.