This project sets forth a research plan for developing enhanced energy usage models and solutions for home and office buildings based on modern sensing and wireless networking technologies. Availability of low-cost sensing and processing modules as well as recently developed efficient wireless communication protocols for building automation applications provide the basic enabling tools for the application domain of smart buildings. Network-centric application areas such as security and surveillance as well as novel user-centric technologies such as in-home patient and elderly monitoring have already been explored to some extent, but these are only the first of the plethora of possible applications for smart environments. Energy usage automation is a compelling application of sensor technology due to the universal need for energy usage optimization in homes and office buildings.
The proposed research plan employs tools and techniques of modern sensing, processing, and networking to develop optimized energy usage solutions. The plan consists of development efforts across three major topics:
1. Development of distributed sensor-based techniques and embedded algorithmic processes to measure, detect, estimate, and predict the constant and variable environmental factors as well as the user-centric conditions that determine the need for energy expenditure.
2. Development of local-area wireless communication and networking systems and adaptation of available protocols to enable the distributed sensing and processing devices to interact with each other, provide relevant information and receive commands from the users, obtain real-time energy pricing when available, log and report and develop history of the usage model, and offer scalable operation when more network devices are added to the environment for supporting this or other applications.
3. Development of energy usage models and optimization algorithms to minimize energy expenditure using the heterogeneous data provided by the networked sensors, user commands, and system settings, real-time pricing information when available, and feedback information available from the network.