Dashboards for a Greener built environment – moving along

Phase I of the “dashboards for a greener built environment” research project proposes to catalog energy dashboards available in the market place today (see list below) and extrapolate implict standards these dashboards are being built to.

Phase II, will focus on establishing a baseline set of standards from which future energy dashboards can be built to. The goal is to provide for interoperability through open standards and a strong base for ease of adoption of these dashboards by the masses.

STANDARDS act as design constraints and outline interoperability between the ecosystem components. An assumption is made that energy conservation can be achieved through adoption of energy dashboards that promote self correction. Dashboards provide a way to measure and optimize usage. The domain for this study therefore is “Energy Conservation” and the range is any device/gadget/appliance or any act that consumes energy.

Components of the ecosystem for “dashboards for a greener built environment”:
a. The built environment at the micro level – individual housing and at the marco level urban and rural environment,
b. Instrumentation – measures and outputs consumption
c. Appliance engineering – Product design
d. Open data repositories of specification based on which these products are designed
e. Governance

Energy sources that are at the center of the energy conservation discussion include but are not limited to:
a. Water
b. Thermal energy
c. Electrical energy
d. Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas

The energy dashboard market is gaining momentum in the United States, with companies such as google, microsoft, cisco and utility companies making rapid inroads. The smart grid development is gaining traction which is helping drive development of a dashboard driven conservation culture. Now is the time to develop these standards.

1) EnergyHub: EnergyHub makes a high-end energy dashboard that will offer Google Docs-style spreadsheets and graphs of resource use. http://www.energyhub.com/
2) Tendril: Tendril sells a combo of energy management services, including a wireless in-home energy display, a smart thermostat, a web-based energy portal. http://www.tendrilinc.com/
3) Onzo: London-based Onzo makes a slick-looking energy display and wireless sensor kit that runs on energy harvested from the home electrical cable. http://onzo.com/
4) Agilewaves: Agilewaves‘ Resource Monitor tracks and manages energy, gas and water consumption in real time from web-enabled devices. http://www.agilewaves.com/
5) Google PowerMeter: The search-engine giant told us recently that it is trying to bring PowerMeter, its online energy information tool, to market sometime this year. Google is working with device makers — we’ve reported on GE and Tendril — and hoping to launch with a direct-to-consumer product as well as a utility product
6) The Energy Detective: The Energy Detective (or TED) is one of the few energy management tools that’s already available to consumers.
7) PowerMand: Founded in 2006, Portland, Ore.-based PowerMand makes DreamWatts, a wireless energy management tool that focuses on making smart thermostats effective for cutting energy consumption. http://www.powermand.com/dreamwatts-product
8) Green Energy Options: Cambridge, UK-based Green Energy Options‘ home energy monitoring system, called the Home Energy Hub.

2011 a year for Energy Dashboards and rules

This research project aims to develop STANDARDS for energy dashboards that promote conservation. An assumption is made that energy conservation can be achieved through adoption of energy dashboards that promote self correction. Dashboards provide a way to measure and optimize usage. The domain for this study therefore is “energy conservation” and the range is any device/gadget/appliance or any act that consumes energy.

STANDARDS act as design constraints and outline interoperability between components that makeup the ecosystem.

Components of the ecosystem for energy dashboards:
a. The built environment at the micro level – individual housing and at the marco level urban and rural environment,
b. Instrumentation – measures and outputs consumption
c. Appliance engineering – Product design
d. Open data repositories of specification based on which these products are designed
e. Governance

Energy sources that are at the center of the energy conservation discussion include but are not limited to:
a. Water
b. Thermal energy
c. Electrical energy
d. Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas

The energy dashboard market is gaining momentum in the United States, with companies such as google, microsoft, cisco and utility companies making rapid inroads. The smart grid development is gaining traction which is helping drive development of these widgets.

This research project aims to extrapolate the implicit interoperability standards these widgets are being designed from today. The goal is to use this data as a basis for developing a comprehensive set of standards that will drive interoperability within the components of the ecosystem and drive adoption of energy dashboards with the eventual goal of conserving energy.

Getting back on track with Energy Dashboards for a Greener built Environment – after being consumed for a whole year

This past year I was consumed by setting up an operations team that could be sold. Of course I was part of the sale and now that the deed is done, I am back thinking about Energy Dashboards for a Greener built environment.

Energy Dashboards
Energy Dashboards

To recap my interest in Energy Dashboards: It is a multi-disciplinary approach to develop template(s) for Energy Dashboards. The approach does not develop dashboards, instead it provides a Open common framework to build interoperable and consistent Energy Dashboards in the future. The disciplines include but are not limited to: The built environment [Architecture/Urban planning], Standards [governance], Instrumentation [measurement of energy input/out by appliances or the environment, Electrical Engineering], Data Repositories [CS, Data minining, Numeric analysis] and Sensors and Transmission of Data [CS and Electrical engineering]

As a concrete example of a Dashboard: Consider a wireless sensor buried in each front yard in the community that transmits amount of water sprinkled and the amount of pesticide in the lawn. The sensor transmits this to the wireless mesh of routers, on its way to a data repository. The repository is transparent and can we viewed as part of a social network. Ultimately, the dashboard is the community view of the data repository.

A year later, I have initiated contact with Western Michigan University, to help me realize this idea that I blogged about back in November 2008, December 2009 and then continued to build upon through my software modelling paper at DePaul. This coming fall the focus will be on preping for Numeric Analysis and Data mining, which actually means I will sit in a couple of calculus classes at KVCC and then follow that up with in Spring at WMU as a Guest Student. Come fall of next year if all goes well, I will be part of a multi-disciplinary team driving the initiative to set templates and Standards for Energy Dashboards for a Greener built Environment.

Inter disciplinary approach:

There are 5 major domains that require to be loosely coupled to make the dream of pervasive “Dashboards for a Greener built environment” a reality. They are summed up in the illustration below. In the end we need standards that drive appliance manufactures to provide instrumentation data that is available to the consumers. We need standards that drive creating of Data repositories that store efficiency data that will be freely available to consumers. We need standards for our built environment that makes adoption of energy conservation a reality.

multi disciplinary approach for Energy Dasboards
multi disciplinary approach for Energy Dasboards