The heat is on... or off: Having the sense to cut office energy bills

Dec 06, 2013

Office buildings have an enormous carbon footprint, but often energy is being wasted maintaining empty rooms and spaces at a comfortable temperature. Research to be published in the International Journal of Communication Networks and Distributed Systems shows how the ubiquity of smart phones connected to the office network could be used to monitor occupancy and reduce heating or air conditioning for unused spaces.

Bruce Nordman of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, plus Ken Christensen of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of South Florida, and other colleagues from those institutions and the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, explain how implicit occupancy sensing can be undertaken using existing IT infrastructure. The infrastructure includes networked , devices on the local IP like computers, and others – and avoids installing dedicated sensors in every space in a building. Their approach is to continually monitor the network addresses associated with every device, or data flowing to or from the devices.

The implicit sensing approach uses the network identity and other data and how devices are accessing specific wireless access points and other network equipment in the building and then correlates them with the assumed location of the users of those devices when mapped against the building's floor plans, or location of the access points. Unoccupied and frequently unused spaces can then have their temperature control and adjusted to , at least until the space is once again occupied. Controls could be put in place to allow temperature of a given space to be adjusted in advance for schedule occupancy.

The team describes three main advantages of their approach over dedicated monitoring equipment. First, there is no additional hardware cost in terms of devices, installation, operation, or maintenance. Secondly, sensor readings can be obtained readily over an existing network. Finally, the system can drill down to occupancy number, identity and activity, information that would not be available for dedicated sensors. Such information can be coupled to management systems or can simply be used to ensure that cleaning staff are not blasted with heat while working nor office workers chilled too drastically in a meeting room.

Explore further: Connecting weather predictions to building management

More information: "Using existing network infrastructure to estimate building occupancy and control plugged-in devices in user workspaces" in Int. J. Communication Networks and Distributed Systems, 2014, 12, 4-29

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Air conditioning control goes wireless

Mar 04, 2013

Scientists devised a new wireless and energy autonomous sensor network using in collective buildings to monitor heating, ventilation and air conditioning and reduce energy consumption

Test of building smart sensors yields big energy savings

Apr 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- To reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings, computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have come up with a way to use real-time occupancy sensors and computer ...

Recommended for you

Desktop device to make key gun part goes on sale in US

17 hours ago

The creator of the world's first 3D plastic handgun unveiled Wednesday his latest invention: a pre-programmed milling machine that enables anyone to easily make the core component of a semi-automatic rifle.

Minimally invasive surgery with hydraulic assistance

23 hours ago

Endoscopic surgery requires great manual dexterity on the part of the operating surgeon. Future endoscopic instruments equipped with a hydraulic control system will provide added support during minimally ...

Analyzing gold and steel – rapidly and precisely

Oct 01, 2014

Optical emission spectrometers are widely used in the steel industry but the instruments currently employed are relatively large and bulky. A novel sensor makes it possible to significantly reduce their size ...

More efficient transformer materials

Oct 01, 2014

Almost every electronic device contains a transformer. An important material used in their construction is electrical steel. Researchers have found a way to improve the performance of electrical steel and ...

Sensor network tracks down illegal bomb-making

Oct 01, 2014

Terrorists can manufacture bombs with relative ease, few aids and easily accessible materials such as synthetic fertilizer. Not always do security forces succeed in preventing the attacks and tracking down ...

User comments : 0