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Using Computers and Sensors to Curb Electricity Use in Buildings

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Yuvraj Agarwal

Research scientist Yuvraj Agarwal in front of the UCSD Computer Science and Engineering building, where his team ran real-world experiments on a better way to regulate HVAC building systems using 'occupancy sensors.'

University of California, San Diego

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have developed algorithms and a real-time occupancy sensor network to create a smart heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. The software and sensor-based system resulted in electrical energy savings of nearly 16 percent during the initial test.

"This is a significant real-world energy saving that comes while maintaining important quality-of-life measures related to building availability, lighting, comfort, and appearance," says UCSD's Yuvraj Agarwal. During testing, the sensors detected several periods of low occupancy when HVAC systems were fully operational and wasting energy.

"Our solution is a novel control architecture that uses a network of sensors to keep track in real time of which areas of the building are occupied," Agarwal says. The UCSD experiment used passive-infrared sensors with a magnetic reed switch to create an occupancy sensor with 96 percent accuracy. The sensors can be modified to count people and detect environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, and light levels.

From UCSD News (CA)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 



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