Portia Murray room EMPA
PhD Student tel +41 76 520 50 54



Portia Murray received her Masters of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering (2015) and Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering (2013) at Queen’s University in Canada. Her master’s thesis focused on building, testing, and simulating transcritical CO2 heat pumps for residential applications. She also formally worked as a Research Assistant working on the 3for2 project at the Future Cities Laboratory, at the Singapore ETH Centre, where she helped model and commission the 3for2 pilot project at United World College Southeast Asia: a decentralized, high temperature cooling system for a new office space. From May 2012 to October 2013 she was the Mechanical Manager for the Team Ontario in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 in Irvine, California. She designed, modeled, tested, and commissioned the integrated mechanical system for Team Ontario’s house that came first place in the Engineering competition.

In March 2016, she began her PhD at the Chair of Building Physics at ETH Zürich.


PhD: Integration of sustainable multi-hub systems from the building performance perspective

Summary:Her doctoral studies focus on developing a method to assess the best combination of technologies for decentralized district heating systems to analyze district heating performance on the neighborhood scale. Storage technologies are of particular focus in this research, especially power-to-gas and battery storage technologies for storing excess renewable energy during off-peak demand. These methods are compared against more traditional storage and conversion technologies, such as thermal storage tanks, heat pumps and boilers. All technologies are incorporated into both a centralized and decentralized Energy-Hub model on the neighborhood scale for analysis.



P. Murray, "Performance Analysis of a CO2 Heat Pump Water Heater with Brazed Plate Gas-coolers," M.A.Sc Thesis, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, On, 2014.

Conference Proceedings

A. Rysanek, P. Murray, J. Pantelic, M. Mast, A. Schlueter. Simulation Analysis of a Low-Exergy Decentralized Air-Conditioning System for Hot and Humid Climates: Towards a Pilot Implementation in Singapore. Building Simulation 2015. Hyderabad, 2015.

A. Rysanek, P. Murray, J. Pantelic, C. Miller, F. Meggers, M. Mast, A. Schlueter. The Design of a Decentralized Ventilation System for an Office in Singapore: Key Findings for Future Research. CISBAT 2015. Lausanne, 2015.

P. Murray, A. Rysanek, J. Pantelic, M. Mast, A. Schlueter. On decentralized air-conditioning for hot and humid climates: Performance characterization of a small capacity dedicated outdoor air system with built-in sensible and latent energy recovery wheels. International Building Physics Conference. Torino, 2015.

P. Murray, S. Harrison, B. Stinson and G. Johnson, "Experimental Evaluation of a Water Source CO2 Heat Pump Incorporating Novel Gas Cooler Configuration," in ASME 8th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Boston. 2014.

P. Murray, S. Harrison and B. Stinson, "Passive Gas Cooler Anti-Fouling for Carbon Dioxide Heat Pump Water Heaters," in American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Montreal, 2014.

P. Murray, “Experimental Testing of a Transcritical Carbon Dioxide Heat Pump Water Heater,” 11th IEA Heat Pump Conference. Montreal, 2014. P. Murray, “Designing a Net-Zero Energy House for the Solar Decathlon 2013.”Thousand Islands Energy Research Forum. Kingston, Ontario, 2014.

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