Intelligent and Energy Efficient Buildings

We are creating smart building technology to improve building efficiency by using information about occupant locations and activities. For example, the demo below illustrates how our system can track the identity, location, and activity of occupants, without the need for beacons, wearable tags, cameras, or microphones. This information is being used to more strategically employ heating and cooling only when needed, and to give occupants fine-grained feedback about electricity and water usage. Preliminary results using data from 8 homes indicate that our approach can save 28% of HVAC energy with only $25 in sensors. Ongoing research is extending these results several ways, and recent deployments include more than 1200 sensors deployed in over 20 homes. Details are available in the publications listed below.

Video

The video below demonstrates how our technology tracks a person through a building and identifies activities (such as using the kitchen lights or sink), without requiring the person to wear any sensors or install any cameras or microphones in the house. The system does this using only about a dozen sensors, which are mounted on the doorways, the electrical mains, and water mains. The target cost of a production version of this system is about $300. The interface shown to the left is used on an Android smart phone, and also provides controls for temperature and zoning.

UPDATE: this new video is a live demo, where all tracking and recognition electrical/water loads is performed live in real time!

Publications

Vijay Srinivasan, Jack Stankovic, Kamin Whitehouse. FixtureFinder: Discovering the Existence of Electrical and Water Fixtures. To Appear in The 12th ACM/IEEE Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN'13). April 8-11, 2013, Philadelphia, PA.
(21% acceptance rate)

Tamim Sookoor, Kamin Whitehouse. RoomZoner: Occupancy-based Room-Level Zoning of a Centralized HVAC System. To Appear in The 4th International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS'13). April 8-11, 2013, Philadelphia, PA.
(23% acceptance rate)

Tamim Sookoor, Brian Holben and Kamin Whitehouse. Feasibility of Retrofitting Centralized HVAC Systems for Room-Level Zoning. To appear in Elsevier Journal on Sustainable Computing, Informatics and Systems, 2013.

Kamin Whitehouse. The Rise of the Intelligent Building. IQT Quarterly. Volume 4, Number 3. Pages 5-8. Winter 2013. (Invited Paper)

Timothy Hnat, Erin Griffiths, Raymond Dawson, and Kamin Whitehouse. Doorjamb: Unobtrusive Room-level Tracking of People in Homes using Doorway Sensors. The 10th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensing Systems (SenSys'12). November 7-9, 2012, Toronto, Canada.
(19% acceptance rate)

Anindya Prodhan and Kamin Whitehouse. Hot Water DJ: Saving Energy by Pre-mixing Hot Water. To appear in the 4th ACM Workshop On Embedded Sensing Systems For Energy-Efficiency In Buildings (BuildSys'12). Toronto, Canada. November 6, 2012.

Virginia Smith, Tamim Sookoor, and Kamin Whitehouse. Modeling Building Thermal Response to HVAC Zoning. To appear in ACM SIGBED Review, Special Issue on Networks of Cooperating Objects. September, 2012.

Krasimira Kapitanova, Enamul Hoque, John A. Stankovic, Sang H. Son, and Kamin Whitehouse. Being SMART About Failures: Assessing Repairs in Smart Homes. The 14th ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp'12). September 5-8, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA.
(19% acceptance rate)

Kamin Whitehouse, Juhi Ranjan, Jiakang Lu, Tamim Sookoor, Mehdi Saadat, Carrie Burke, Galen Staengle Canfora, and Hossein Haj-Hariri. Towards Occupancy-driven Heating and Cooling. To appear in IEEE Design & Test, Special Issue on Green Computing. Jul/Aug 2012.

Jiakang Lu and Kamin Whitehouse. Smart Blueprints: Automatically Generated Maps of Homes and the Devices Within Them. To appear in The 10th Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive'12). June 18-22, 2012, Newcastle, UK. (ppt)
(20% acceptance rate)

Tamim Sookoor, Brian Holben and Kamin Whitehouse. Feasibility of Retrofitting Centralized HVAC Systems for Room-Level Zoning. The Third International Green Computing Conference (IGCC'12). June 5-8, 2012 in San Jose, CA. (ppt)

Jiakang Lu and Kamin Whitehouse. SunCast: Fine-grained Prediction of Natural Sunlight Levels for Improved Daylight Harvesting. The 11th ACM Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN'12). April 16-20, 2012, Beijing, China. (ppt)
(15% acceptance rate)

Ginger Smith, Tamim Sookoor, and Kamin Whitehouse. Modeling Building Thermal Response To HVAC Zoning. The Third International Workshop on Networks of Cooperating Objects (CONET'12). Co-located with the CPS Week 2012. April 16th, 2012. Beijing, China. (key, ppt)

Timothy Hnat, Vijay Srinivasan, Jiakang Lu, Tamim Sookoor, Raymond Dawson, John Stankovic, Kamin Whitehouse. The Hitchhiker's Guide to Successful Residential Sensing Deployments. To appear in The 9th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensing Systems (SenSys'11). November 2-4, 2011, Seattle, WA. (ppt)
(19.5% acceptance rate)

Vijay Srinivasan, John Stankovic and Kamin Whitehouse. WaterSense: Water Flow Disaggregation using Motion Sensors. The 3rd ACM Workshop On Embedded Sensing Systems For Energy-Efficiency In Buildings (BuildSys), held in conjunction with ACM SenSys. November 1, 2011, Seattle, WA. (ppt)

Jie Liu, Michel Goraczko, Sean James, Christian Belady, Jiakang Lu, Kamin Whitehouse. The Data Furnace: Heating Up with Cloud Computing. The 3rd USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud'11). Jun 14-15, 2011. Portland, OR.

Jiakang Lu, Tamim Sookoor, Vijay Srinivasan, Gao Ge, Brian Holben, John Stankovic, Eric Field, Kamin Whitehouse. The Smart Thermostat: Using Occupancy Sensors to Save Energy in Homes. The 8th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensing Systems (SenSys). November 3-5, 2010, Zurich, Switzerland. (ppt)
(17% acceptance rate)

Jiakang Lu, Dagnachew Birru, Kamin Whitehouse. Using Simple Light Sensors to Achieve Smart Daylight Harvesting. The 2nd ACM Workshop On Embedded Sensing Systems For Energy-Efficiency In Buildings (BuildSys), held in conjunction with ACM SenSys. November 2, 2010, Zurich, Switzerland.

Vijay Srinivasan, John Stankovic and Kamin Whitehouse. Using Height Sensors for Biometric Identification in Multi-resident Homes. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive). Helsinki, Finland, May 17-20, 2010.
(23% acceptance rate)

Ge Gao and Kamin Whitehouse. The Self-Programming Thermostat: Optimizing Setback Schedules based on Home Occupancy Patterns. First ACM Workshop On Embedded Sensing Systems For Energy-Efficiency In Buildings (BuildSys '09), held in conjunction with ACM SenSys. Berkeley, CA, Nov. 2009. (PPT)

Vijay Srinivasan, John A. Stankovic and Kamin Whitehouse. Protecting Your Daily In-home Activity Information from a Wireless Snooping Attack. In Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp). Seoul, Korea, September 2008.
(19% acceptance rate)

Funding

We gratefully acknowledge that this project is currently funded by:

  • The National Science Foundation project "Occupant Oriented HVAC Control" under Award# 1038271
  • The National Science Foundation project "The BetaHome Project" under Award# 1305362
  • Trane, Inc Commercial Solutions under project "Improved Occupancy Sensing in Commercial buildings Using Occupant Flow Modeling"
  • ESPRIT program under project "Validation of Energy Savings Potential from a Self-Programming Thermostat"