Siebel Energy Institute Awards Will Advance CBE’s Research in Data Science and the IoT of Buildings
By David Lehrer
20 March 2017
The Center for the Built Environment (CBE) which recently turned twenty has recieved two new research grants from the Siebel Energy Institute for 2017. These grants will support research that leverages technologies from the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) in buildings, including data analytics, advanced sensing, occupant engagement and energy performance in new and innovative ways.
CBE researchers Jovan Pantelic and Lindsay Graham will work on how to collect building data to encourage occupants to positively modify behaviors in support of occupant health and well-being. Although occupant well-being, energy efficiency and buildings are sometimes seen as conflicting objectives, research by CBE and other organizations is already revealing that perceived dichotomy to often be false.
The project, titled “Informing Occupants and Modifying Their Behavior Through Energy and Air Quality Sensing” will work to develop a tool that joins building performance with user perceptions and behaviors. The team plans to utilize information from both an IoT building sensing platform as well as from occupant feedback. The ultimate aim is to increase the occupants’ awareness of their personal energy consumption and impacts on air quality, so that they may modify their behavior towards actions that will save energy while also improving indoor air quality.
The second project was awarded to Assistant Professor of Architecture Stefano Schiavon, SinBerBEST Postdoctoral Scholar Shichao Liu, and Associate Professor Lin Zhang of Tsinghua University/TBSI to test wearable sensors to improve comfort and save energy. Existing building management systems (BMS) receive very little information about occupants’ patterns and preferences, resulting in unnecessary energy consumption for heating and cooling, and related waste heat from lighting. The researchers are looking to address this problem by developing wearable sensors that can be used to inform building control strategies in terms of when heating and cooling should be required.
Their project, titled, “Incorporating Real-time Thermal Comfort and Indoor Occupancy into Building Management Systems,” will develop, test and deploy a wearable system with a modified identification badge and optional wristband. The Bluetooth-enabled badges will interact with building access functions to identify when occupants are present, and an accelerometer will detect occupant activity level which is important in understanding thermal comfort. The optional wristband may also measure additional physiological parameters.
Both research projects aim to reduce energy consumption on building mechanical and lighting systems by approximately while improving occupant thermal comfort, well-being and productivity. The advanced building control strategies expected to result from these projects may also help to predict energy demand more accurately, which could further reduce energy costs and optimize power grid management.
The Siebel Energy Institute funds innovative research grants in data analytics and machine learning to accelerate advancements in the security, reliability, efficiency, and integrity of modern energy systems. The two $50,000 grants are intended as seed money that will allow the project researchers to develop further ideas and pursue more significant funding to carry out the projects through additional phases of development, evaluation and commercialization and/or adoption.
CBE will be hosting a symposium on resilient design for buildings, communities and cities on May 3, 2017 in San Francisco that is open and free to the public. It will also be broadcast live via the web. Details can be found here.