Task 3: Integrated Sensors and Controls


Task 3 Fact Sheet

There are several pervasive challenges in both U.S. and Indian buildings that are barriers to achieving energy savings, such as: 1) energy waste due to lack of coordination among building control systems, 2) comfort, lighting systems and miscellaneous equipment are not controlled with spatial and temporal precision to respond to diverse occupant needs, and 3) loads in buildings are not able to transact, or adjust their operation to conserve constrained energy resources (either in the grid or on-site) in a coordinated, cost-effective way. The high cost of today’s building automation systems is a notable barrier to adoption of any commercialized first-generation integrated systems. In response to these three challenges, this work seeks to accomplish the following

  • Integrate control of HVAC, lighting, and plug loads into one platform, in order to provide better control (i.e., save energy) and reduce the cost of controls.
  • Apply transaction-based controls at the level of the individual workstation, using personalized controls, to reduce the use of scarce energy resources.
  • Use an integrated controls platform to reduce energy and load in grid-islanded, “resource constrained” buildings.
  • Assess whether the Volttron system is robust enough to handle conditions of grid intermittency and instability.
  • Develop task-ambient lighting systems that reduce their power use in a way that maintains occupant comfort and productivity.
  • Demonstrate that control of a group of office workstations can have a measurable energy savings and load reduction effect on a building zone.

Project Impact: 

Development and demonstration of an open-source, integrated, transaction-based workstation and ambient control system. This will enable
workstation-level control of HVAC, lighting and plug loads, interoperability with products from several manufacturers, and balancing comfort considerations with energy resource availability.

Left: 12600 data samples collected to identify the power consumption signatures of nine categories of devices.

Right: Prototype of smart plugstrip with device identification capability that can be used for applications such as efficient monitoring and controlling of plug loads, reduction of standby losses, detection of faulty devices, and demand response management.

Task 3 Team

Vishal Garg
Task R&D Lead (India)
Associate Professor and Head, Center for IT in Building Science
International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad

Christian Kohler
Task R&D Lead (U.S.)
Principal Scientific Engineering Associate
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nadarajah Narendran
Professor & Director of Research, Lighting Research Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lighting Research Center

Jean Paul Freyssinier
Research Scientist, Lighting Research Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lighting Research Center

Amit Garg
Professor, Public Systems Group

Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad