Project: Smart and Sustainable Buildings

Name: Smart and Sustainable Buildings

TItle: Sensing and Control for Improving Water and Energy use in Buildings

Description: This is a collaborative project between University of California, Los Angeles and Indian Institute of Information Technology, New Delhi, India. Buildings are among the largest consumers of energy, both directly in the form of electricity, gas etc. as well as indirectly through consumption of water as part of the critical energy-water nexus that one must consider for true sustainability. The objective of this project is to develop the foundations of low-cost and easy-to-deploy sensing methods that provide observability into patterns and causes of energy and water consumption in a building, and run-time methods that use the sensory information for intelligent control of various buildings systems to minimize the direct and indirect energy use. The project team is collaborating with international academic and industrial collaborators who offer access to complementary experimental opportunities and unique opportunities to develop low-cost technologies that scale across different climatic and socioeconomic contexts. Key elements of the research include (i) Low-cost self-calibrating sensors that infer energy and water usage indirectly from side-band signals, (ii) Methods to reduce overall energy and water footprint by better management of building subsystems, by timely identification and repair of energy and water wasting physical degradations, and by providing information feedback and incentives to influence occupant behaviors, and (iii) Study of the impact of human, cultural and societal factors on privacy, safety, and user interaction mechanisms. The project has the potential of significant socioeconomic benefits by facilitating assessment of efficacy of conservation measures, targeting of incentives, auditing compliance with regulations, and facilities maintenance. The project also contributes to workforce development and training of students on energy challenges in a global socioeconomic context. This project is a part of NSF's US-India pervasive communications and computing collaboration (PC3) initiative.

Status: Active Project

Main Research Area: Energy and Water Sustainability