Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Integrated Building Systems + Energy Security = Smarter Cities and Buildings

Historically, most buildings research has emphasized on new construction, new building tools, systems and techniques to build an energy efficient building. But what about the existing ones? It is critical that today's new building's optimal energy efficiency be reduced and major reductions in the energy use of the existing stock.

Buildings today are not widely monitored for energy performance and hence it is not known where the faults and operational problems are. It need actionable data and information and possibly "detuned".

Current policies are based on design performance, whereas they must be designed to measured performance. Do Measurement Standards to support this concept exist?  Well there are units but not a standard way of measuring units have not been agreed on.
Is there a a scientific and engineering foundations for designing complex building systems?  Most private design studios and corporate design firms have adapted and developed concepts on their individual projects and has learned from what does work ovver the years of practice.

TECHNOLOGY VISION:  Research foundations to create new forms and technology systems on Space cooling and heating HVAC, Lighting, real-time demand response, plug loads, on-site generation in one building platform called BOP. This tie all systems, captures and gather real time data and optimizes performance as yo walk into the space. It is supposed to adjust according to your or occupants' comfort level, protecting you from hazardous elements, and provide you the "tuning" capability as you need them. It adapts to our needs any time of the day or night at what ever climate change or weather system there is around us.  

The key is data storage and analytics.

There are existing buildings and labs to measure and explore; design labs to create tools and PG&E Pacific Energy Center is a great example of lab and resource library that provides training on building envelope technology and tools for measuring building energy performance.Classes are conducted to all levels of knowledge and people wanting to know more about new technologies and where they are going with it.
Broad strategies:

  • Reduce Lighting Energy:  Daylighting, Improved lighting tubes, lighting designs, luminaires.
  • Improved Facades- Glazing, Shading and Daylighting Control.
  • Explore new Glazing
  • Building Form
  • Reduce HVAC Energy utilization
  • Reduce refrigeration energy
  • Reduce Plug Loads
Explore :  New tools to develop and enhance interfaces between system level dynamic interactions and system-level design methodologies.  The needed tools are simply to understand, predict and estimate while visualizing energy combined that with real time data and flows of information.

  Design Integration using new tools from Energy Plus, Building Information models BIM and IFC's.  

NASA sustainability Base building

High Performance building

Urban Agriculture Concept

NASA Sustainability Base Building
Is the aim of this blog to explore and find, ask the right questions on creating, improving the science, human capital and implementation tools needed to enable intelligent and efficient buildings?  I will try.  
Hopefully we will explore ideas, what and how to achieve 90& reduction in new buildings (exceeding Title 24 2008)  and reduce at least 50% energy use in commercial viable retrofit. Find out what low hanging fruit and look at some few buildings around the globe that people like and what they like about it?
 It seems there are millions of questions and need to address. Here are energy related notes and questions on the lecture at UC SB  And they are sensible questions too.
  • How do you motivate a rapid transition to energy efficiency,
  • what is relevant is what and how much people will pay. 
  • Monitoring scheme for buildings is important, if you can monitor building energy use accurately in real-time, it is easier to meet a building performance standard. Its moving forward at state level.
  • What kind of buildings do we want to occupy. What is cool?  What do people actually like?
  • How do we make energy efficiency cool?
  • We need to go into each home and buildings, figure out what is broken. Program must provide you with work plan, and provide incentive programs to figure out what's needed.

  • We need to retrofit hundreds of thousands of buildings now.
  • We need different approach for retrofitting existing buildings vs building new ones.
  • Plug and play technologies. Make building idiot-proof, idiot-resistant, friendly.
  • Learn from Hybrid cars; homes and parts of it could be manufactured where systems like in cars could be plug and play technologies.  All buildings are unique, no one is similar.
  • Building integration platform is equivalent to computer software it can get you 75%;  changes in hardware can get you 25%
  • Utilities recognize the problem.
  • HiperBRIC needs a model that will succeed in the marketplace. This is not a problem in research-its a problem of markets, business and policy.
  • Unsuccessful in giving people a reason to buy energy efficiency.
  • Lab could develop Systems Integration.
  • The proof of concept is the demo building that shows 90% savings?  Need both scalability and modularity.
  • An open platform "Linux of Buildings".
The UC Merced Energy Research Institute (UCMERI) is based at the University of California, Merced. 
  • Leads to new and improved renewable and sustainable energy generation technologies.
  • Sets the standard for institutional energy efficiency and sustainable energy futures.
  • Educates the energy industry and the next generation of energy scholars and practitioners.
  • Examines domestic and global energy policy.

Energy Efficiency and Intelligent Infrastructure

Energy efficiency is the first component of any practical, large-scale implementation of renewable energy generation. The Energy Efficiency and Intelligent Infrastructure group pursues research to optimize and reduce the consumption of energy in the built environment and thereby provide a platform for a sustainable energy future.

Research within this group capitalizes on a close partnership with the design and operation of the physical campus. UC Merced has committed that buildings on campus will consume half of the energy and demand of other University buildings in California. The campus has also deployed an extensive control and monitoring system to support this effort. These systems put UC Merced on the cutting edge of energy efficiency implementation and form a living laboratory that supports and integrates teaching and research efforts.

Smart Infrastructure for Energy Control and Management 

Three research projects are being jointly pursued by UC Merced, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and United Technologies Corporation (UTC) as part of a strategic partnership organized as the High Performance Research and Implementation Center (HiPerBRIC).

The first seeks to use model predictive control to optimize the operation of the campus cooling system.
  • This research will create a model of the campus central plant, thermal energy storage system, and building loads, from which algorithms will be developed and assessed that provide predictive control to minimize energy consumption across campus. 
  • The second research project investigates the use of high-resolution sensor networks to estimate occupancy and provide input for the optimized control of lighting and HVAC systems. 
  • The third research project develops and assesses tools to visualize building performance benchmarking and simulation data within an operational environment as a way to reduce energy consumption.
  • extensive control and monitoring system
As part of its effort to achieve efficiency in is central plant and building operation, UC Merced Facilities Management administers an extensive control and monitoring system. This system deploys tens of thousands of control algorithms to continuously satisfy heating ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements across campus with a minimum of energy consumption. Monitoring data from this system is the primary mechanism through which operational and energy performance goals are achieved and verified at the zone, equipment, building, or plant level.


One of the critical aspects of harnessing solar energy is its efficient conversion into forms that are most amenable to manipulation and storage. The field of optoelectronics deals with the design and implementation of devices that exploit interactions between photons and semiconducting materials to seamlessly interconvert between optical and electrical energy.

Universities at UC System are introducing variety of novel architectures incorporating inexpensive, scalable and robust platforms.

These are integrated with a variety of active media, which include nanocrystal quantum dots, carbon and silicon nanowires and polymer-semiconductor based hybrid materials, to make high efficiency devices for next generation solar energy converters.

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