Research Grant aids Building Automation and Energy Efficiency

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University received a three-year, $1.5 million grant to identify inexpensive ways to track consumption of energy in buildings.  Granted by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this project will have assistance from a variety of organizations, including Bosch Research and Technology Centre North America, which is the research and development branch of te international automotive, industrial, consumer goods and building technology supplier.

On a small level, this grant gives Carnegie Mellon the opportunity to explore energy consumption on various levels, which will lead to the eventual development of tracking tools to manage usage patterns and trends of individual buildings, case-by-case, allowing suggestions to be made on different ways to conserve energy.  On a large-scale level, this opportunity gives Carnegie Mellon the opportunity to make a large step in conserving the planet’s health.

Currently, the Carnegie Mellon team is creating an outline to get specific facts about energy consumption in homes and buildings.  Between 2000 and 2007, household energy costs increased by 70%.  Carnegie Mellon’s research team plans to evaluate different means to provide better energy management, energy monitoring and energy efficiency for consumers. 

About 40% of energy consumption in the U.S. generates electricity, and nearly three quarters of the electricity is consumed by residential structures and commercial buildings.  Lighting, air conditioning, heating and ventilation are amongst easy-to-control appliances that account for roughly 20% of the electricity use in those buildings.  By reducing the high demand of electricity use in residential and commercial buildings and implementing building energy management, a large amount of energy savings for the nation would occur.

For this research project, the researchers will be using a variety of residential buildings.  Some of the buildings are currently operated by Blueroof Technology to test components and tools that montitor electricity and energy usage.

The researchers’ goals include developing cost-efficient and user-friendly energy monitoring devices that track consumption from all electric appliances individually.  Appliance-specific data allows building managers and homeowners to understand energy consumption patterns, and optimize their use of electricity with various tactics including building automation systems.

Results of this research will help lower energy consumption and produce a variety of energy-saving appliances and monitoring systems.