Many of the public schools in Hawaii do not have space conditioning nor do they have access to weather data that could inform decisions about activities impacted by weather in school facilities.  Under this project, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) is providing the State of Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) with the technical resources and expertise to support the delivery of energy and weather data that enables researchers, the community and design professionals to make data-driven decisions for designs and resource allocation. The DOE Thermal Comfort Portal (http://hnei.hidoe-thermal-comfort.4dapt.com) is a research tool developed for HIDOE to implement their heat abatement program.  In addition to providing data for current users, the intent is to broaden the program participants to include the sustainable design community, who can contribute to solutions but who are currently outside of the specific scope of HIDOE heat abatement program.

In December 2013, HNEI and HIDOE executed a Memorandum of Agreement whereby HNEI and its contractor MKThink initiated monitoring activities that resulted in the HIDOE heat abatement program.  HIDOE subsequently worked directly with MKThink and partner Roundhouse One to continue assessment of HIDOE facilities, install weather stations on HIDOE campuses throughout the state and to develop the HNEI hosted web based portal as a mechanism to distribute data collected at the schools.

HIDOE uses this information in several ways:

  • To provide access to local weather data to help schools with short-term decisions related to weather.
  • To provide community members access to data on local micro-climates at school campuses allowing for further study.
  • Helping HIDOE identify areas that have consistent heat issues for targeted thermal comfort improvements by providing relevant outdoor and indoor temperature readings.
  • Providing detailed information from classrooms to help architects and planners design heat abatement solutions to address the specific issues for particular buildings.

 

Publicly released in November of 2017, the HNEI website features the Thermal Comfort Portal as a research resource for microclimatic data across Hawaii as well as specific building performance of the public schools.  HNEI will commence public outreach through workshops and webinars to promote the use of the portal.  HNEI continues to work as a strategic advisor to HIDOE, MKTHink and Roundhouse One on the completion of the Thermal Comfort Portal.
 

Point of Contact: Jim Maskrey

 

More information regarding this project can be found on the HIDOE and HNEI press releases.