Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Students for a Smarter Planet awards were just given to student groups at UT Austin.


Faults and system failures in residential buildings cause excess energy use and negatively affect buildings’ indoor environment. Experiments using UT’s full-scale test house will be conducted, in which common building faults are artificially introduced to identify indicators of these problems in energy consumption data and indoor environmental parameters. Based on these experiments, we plan to develop an algorithm for early detection of these faults. By reducing the occurrence and impact of faults in buildings through their improved detection, we can help reduce energy use in buildings, improve the comfort of occupants, and prevent damage to existing infrastructure.

Early detection of faults help resident reduce their energy use bills and prevents potential damage to building systems.

We will use Energy Simulation Modeling Software (EnergyPlus, EQuest, BEopt), “smart” meter and energy use monitoring equipment, and building environmental sensors (to monitor temperature, relative humidity, etc…). As a result of this project we plan to integrate this “smart” monitoring system into a PC interface, and in the future, a smart phone or other portable device application.

Campus Building Energy Use Reduction

In 2013, students from ESW and ASHRAE teamed with UT’s Energy and Water Conservation program to pilot Longhorn Lights Out (LLO), a program developed to reduce energy by encouraging students, faculty and staff to turn off lights and reduce plug loads on weekends. Our most recent pilot resulted in a reduction in demand of 111 kW, equal to power for 42 homes. To increase participation, we plan to integrate technology into our efforts through the development of a mobile application. We will use this to teach campus members and wider community how to use the app to participate in LLO and other energy conservation activities.

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