Buildings & Design Solutions Group: Projects

Energy Visualization 
Modern buildings produce huge streams of data about their energy use and occupant comfort, but previously there has been no good way to understand this information. Institute faculty have created new data aggregation tools to distill this information into simple visual displays that pinpoint areas of inefficient consumption and offer crucial insights into overall building performance. 

Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis 
How a building is used and operated impacts energy consumption as much as its design. Factors such as the number of people in a building, HVAC equipment, and electricity loads from computers and other electronics can greatly affect a given building’s efficiency. Innovative algorithms developed by our researchers help identify which of these factors most strongly influence building performance, greatly reducing the challenge of energy modeling a large commercial building.

Optimization and Calibration 
Heating and cooling of buildings is necessary to keep occupants comfortable, but at the cost of increased energy consumption. Balancing these competing priorities is a key goal of energy management efforts in buildings. The Institute is developing advanced model-based optimization of building design and operation which can deliver accurate estimates of building performance and identify the most efficient management strategy.

In addition to integrated building systems, the Buildings and Design Solutions Group is also doing research on smart grid stability. Buildings already place a high load on the electrical grid. Adding distributed renewables will make the challenge of providing a reliable flow of electricity even greater. Our researchers are exploring sophisticated analysis and modeling techniques to handle these added complexities.

Highlights of Recent Research:

Solving the Synchronization Problem in Power Networks

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energy efficiency