Monthly Board Member Message: Ralph T. Muehleisen

My route to IBPSA has been a bit of a journey. As a kid growing up in Wisconsin, I was a bit of a tinkerer. I worked on go-karts, snowmobiles, and mini-bikes. By the time I was in my mid-teens I had moved from mechanical systems to computers. As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin – Madison I majored in Electrical and Computer Engineering and got a second major in Physics. At UW I got an interest in audio and acoustics and went to Penn State and got my Ph.D. in Acoustics in 1996. This led to a couple postdocs in acoustics where I worked on acoustic measurement systems, outdoor sound propagation, acoustic signature analysis, and thermoacoustic heat engines and refrigerators. That led me to a faculty position in Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the U. of Colorado - Boulder where I was teaching thermal fluids, electrical circuits, and architectural acoustics while doing research in several areas of acoustics including building acoustics modeling. It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago and joined the faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2003 that I started teaching and expanding my research into areas of building science and building modeling.  At that time my professional activities revolved around the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) where I was quite active in the society, the Institute of Noise Control Engineers (INCE) where I was a member of the board, and TC 2.6 Sound and Vibration in ASHRAE. I had heard of IBPSA but wasn’t active at that time.

In 2011 I left IIT for Argonne National Laboratory to become the Principal Building Scientist. I quickly started working in building energy modeling and attended the 2012 SimBuild conference in Madison.  It was my first introduction to IBPSA-USA and I was instantly hooked. Over the next few years I became active in ASHRAE TC 4.7 Energy Calculations, joined the Board of Directors of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), and became an associate editor for the Journal of Architectural Engineering. My research now includes reduced order building energy models, understanding uncertainty in building energy models and applying risk analysis to energy retrofits, model calibration methods, and most recently, urban science and engineering (including coupled urban infrastructure modeling). In my spare time, I like to cook, eat, and be merry.


I am extremely happy to be a member of the IBPSA-USA Board and a co-chair of the Urban Scale Simulation subcommittee of the Research Committee. I hope to bring my experience in academia and Argonne, along with my society experience at ASA, INCE, and MEEA to help IBPSA-USA grow. 


Ralph T. Muehleisen, Principal Building Scientist and Building Energy Group Leader at Argonne National Laboratory
Board of Directors at IBPSA-USA; co-chair of the Urban Scale Simulation subcommittee of the Research Committee

My route to IBPSA has been a bit of a journey.