1944823 (Wang). This research will quantify the contribution of indoor greenery systems to building energy efficiency. Indoor living wall systems are becoming increasingly popular in modern commercial buildings, and this research will create a model to simulate the thermal interactions between indoor greenery systems and the local environment, where evapotranspiration from indoor living plants plays an important role. The research will quantify the effects of indoor greenery systems on building energy consumption and the effects of leaf-to-floor area ratio and evapotranspiration on occupant thermal comfort.

To accomplish the research objectives, the PI will create first a thermal model for indoor greenery systems that predicts evapotranspiration rates and the thermal interactions with the indoor environment and validate the model based on measurements from lab experiments. Second, the PI will identify the relationship between thermal comfort and leaf-to-floor area ratio and evapotranspiration for spaces with indoor greenery systems through thermal comfort experiments. Third, the PI will quantify the influence of indoor greenery systems on building performance through a coupled modeling approach that combines building energy simulation and indoor greenery system models. The knowledge gained is targeted to form the scientific foundation of design guidance for architects, interior designers, and engineers on indoor greenery systems and promote the integration of indoor greenery with HVAC systems for energy efficiency in future buildings. The developed thermal model for indoor greenery systems and the integrated modeling approach may contribute to other domains, such as vertical farming and horticulture. The research topics will be incorporated into curricula for middle/high school and university students through hands-on activities, experiments, and design competitions. The PI will develop a web-based design tool for undergraduate students to perform integrated energy simulations for buildings with indoor greenery systems. By hosting summer camps for middle/high school students and teachers, the project will have a direct impact on education for approximately 1,000 students. The higher education activities through thermal comfort experiments, the web-based design tool, and design competitions for indoor greenery systems will engage 300 university students. In turn, research can benefit from these educational activities and industry partners’ feedback based on periodic updates of the project. The results generated from this project will be disseminated through journal publications, the PI’s group website, national and state conferences, the Society of Building Science Educators, and the American Institute of Architects.

This project is jointly funded by the CBET Environmental Sustainability program and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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University of Wyoming
United States
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