Tea Zakula is Head of the Laboratory for Energy Efficiency, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, at the University of Zagreb. Tea's doctorate focused on improving energy efficiency in buildings by making cooling in buildings more efficient by combining radiant cooling, thermal energy storage, and highly calibrated controls to run the system. She developed computer models that can calculate the potential savings of using all three of those components in a combined system. Since finishing her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, Tea has been interested in heating, cooling, indoor air quality, and promoting natural ventilation in buildings. The three systems—water-chilled ceiling tubes, thermal storage, and variable drives—are gaining in popularity in the United States as separate components but have never been combined. Tea is modeling the potential benefits of using all three simultaneously. If Tea’s research pans out, new construction may one day incorporate a system more high-tech than open windows but more energy-efficient than conventional air conditioning. She hopes to try out the system—if not in an entire structure, at least in a one-room prototype—in the near future.
2013 Doctoral Dissertation: Model Predictive Control for Energy Efficient Cooling and Dehumidification