Heating and cooling is taking a new energy efficient direction in the ways of low-wattage personal office use. With clever new technologies making their way into the building industry, businesses have something to get excited about.

With a $1.6 million grant, the researchers at UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment are working on refining, testing and promoting a new set of tools to enable more efficient temperature control in buildings that involve a network of web-based applications and user-response Personal Comfort System (PCS), according to The Daily Fusion.

The PCS works like this

The researchers think that with these smart new tools, they will be able to cut down on both natural gas and electricity. This could mean savings estimated at 39 per cent on natural gas and 30 per cent on electricity — when it comes to heating and cooling a typical California commercial office space — making it significantly more energy efficient.

See, the PCS is using low-wattage devices put into office chairs, foot warmers and fans that can accommodate the individual’s preferred temperature on command.  Instead of heating or cooling an entire office, this idea of the PCS is to serve individuals by targeting the most thermally sensitive parts of the body.

Wait, I thought this was an app?

The plan is to have the PCS tools will also work with applications for smart phones, software and sensors that transfer information about building temperatures and the weather.

Now, let’s get back to the energy savings

This brilliant Personal Comfort System will understand when a space isn’t occupied because of its sensors and will save energy by turning off. The PCS is powered with a rechargeable lithium ferrophosphate battery — and doesn’t really need to be plugged into anything.

Last year, new research showed that low-wattage space heaters was reducing tons of energy costs and consumption. While your average space heater uses 1,500 watts — the PCS only eats up 40 watts to keep you warm.  They’re not kidding when they’re saying it’s a low-wattage solution!

With the focus on the individual rather than the floor, natural gas and electricity is being saved. This is a huge step towards having a super energy efficient office building!

Of course, researchers are currently putting together prototypes of these high-tech awesome chairs and we’re in the earlier stages of this energy solution. But they’re hoping to get governments and building industries on board with this. As we know, energy conservation programs always lead to incentives and rebates.

Image Credit: Center for the Built Environment