Ph.D. position in Digital human avatar for the design and operation of energy-efficient buildings

Updated: 28 days ago

Materials science and technology are our passion. With our cutting-edge research, Empa's around 1,100 employees make essential contributions to the well-being of society for a future worth living. Empa is a research institution of the ETH Domain.

The occupant's thermal comfort is the most influential parameter to be considered in building design since it impacts both the building energy consumption and the productivity and well-being of occupants. This project aims to develop a human-building avatar to be used for the design and operation of energy-efficient buildings. Such a digital avatar shall consist of an advanced thermal occupant model coupled with the physical representation of the building structure and associated conditioning systems developed in building performance simulation (BPS) EnergyPlus software. The aim of this proposed PhD project is to build an advanced thermal model of the occupant by combining the best available individual models (human thermoregulation, clothing and thermal sensation models) and enhancing them with new features not available so far. The further advancement of this model combination includes features that account for body posture, exposure to solar radiation and dressing trends over seasons of the year. The occupant thermal model will be validated based on manikin and human data. Finally, a demonstration of the model's capabilities in practical scenarios will be done.

Your tasks

  • Development of an advanced thermal model of the occupant by combining best available individual models and enhancing them with new features addressing effects of solar radiation and clothing 
  • Systematic validation of the advanced thermal model of the occupant using manikin and human ex-perimental data 
  • Parametric sensitivity study of the developed advanced thermal model of the occupant for variety of scenarios 
  • Writing and presenting scientific contributions (journal papers, conference presentations)

Your profile

  • Completed MSc degree in mechanical, environmental or biomedical engineering or similar 
  • Experience in physics-based and data-driven modeling is considered as an advantage 
  • High interest in interdisciplinary research 
  • Excellent communication skills and fluency in English (both written and oral) are mandatory

Our offer

A project duration of 3 years is envisaged to carry out the above research tasks in the form of a PhD project. The candidate will perform his/her research at Empa in St. Gallen and will get the PhD degree from ETH Zürich (under Prof. René Rossi, Department of Health Science and Technology). The desired starting date is 1st of January 2024 or upon mutual agreement. The PhD candidate will meet a friendly and supportive team helping with quick integration in the new environment and easing learning experience.

«a» stands for «all» in our job advertisements. We live a culture of inclusion and respect. We welcome all people who are interested in innovative, sustainable and meaningful activities - that's what counts.

SarahStüdli, Bereichspersonalleiterin / HR Partner

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