Bing Dong is a Syracuse University Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace engineering, SyracuseCoE Associate Director of Grid-Interactive Buildings, and leader of a diverse student research team. This June, he was presented with a coveted Distinguished Service award from ASHRAE, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, in recognition of his exceptional research, leadership, and service contributions to the organization. Of the nearly 30 recipients of ASHRAE’s 2023 Distinguished Service Award, Dong was the only honoree from New York state.

Dong’s research has focused on occupancy as an indicator of building design and operation. For years, he has extended his expertise to ASHRAE, leading workshops as a Seminar Chair and conducting research efforts as Research Chair to ASHRAE technical committee 7.10, ASHRAE technical committee 7.10, Occupant Behavior in Building Design and Operation. The committee highlights future research goals, while orchestrating workshops for engineers in other fields to learn more about building science.

“Traditionally, a building’s temperature is controlled on a fixed schedule, but it shouldn’t be”, Dong feels. “Temperature control should be led by occupant behavior, which saves energy and increases comfort for all occupants. Some people will go on longer breaks than others or decide to work from home. Buildings shouldn’t waste power and resources to operate based on just one standard.”

This Spring, Dong concluded a five-year international project with the International Energy Agency (IEA) that was inspired by his idea of occupant-centric building operation. Project 79: Occupancy Based Building Design and Operation, involved hundreds of experts and generated research representing over 55 universities. Of the project’s four distinct subtasks, Dong led Subtask 2, overseeing the development of data-driven occupant modeling strategies and digital tools. His effort on the task was sponsored by ASHRAE.

At the conclusion of Project 79, Dong traveled to Germany’s RWTH Aachen University, an elite technical institution with specialties in Building and Energy Systems. Reflecting on his time visiting Aachen University’s lab spaces and speaking with colleagues, Dong says he “was excited to work with so many global professors in this field,” adding, “We discussed a lot of new committees.”

In August, Dong’s work will bring him to Dubai, where he will further his research and gain more recognition for his work in occupant-based building operation.