Framework for Advanced Sustainable Building Design

Video edited by Chris Lynch , Boston University College of Engineering Distance Learning
Footage courtesy of IBM

  • Principal Investigator: Michael Caramanis
  • Co-Principal Investigators: John Baillieul and Michael Gevelber of Boston University, and,  J. Fernandez and L. Norford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The objective of this National Science Foundation EFRI-SEED project is to conduct interdisciplinary research on optimizing the energy metabolism of advanced sustainable buildings (ASBs) to foster mutually beneficial and sustainable dynamic equilibrium within the built environment and within the whole energy sector.  The end product will be a broadly construed framework for the design and operation of next generation ASBs. The research envisions ASBs as both consuming and producing energy via a smart micro-grid that integrates smart appliances, distributed storage, generation, and other grid friendly uses such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). The increased energy use diversity and flexibility of future ASBs will provide higher quality of service at reduced cost and lower carbon emissions.  The team combines the requisite domain knowledge and interdisciplinary expertise in building design, building technology, communication networks, sensors and automation, systems optimization, distributed control, and electricity market design.  The researchers will develop a Building-Side-of the-Meter-Market (BSMM) that trades packetized electric energy with Utility-Side-of the Meter Markets (USMM) assisted by interacting Intelligent Information and Execution (IIE) and Energy Management Decision Support (EMDS) layers.

Advanced building research to date has focused on reducing energy use in isolation. The proposed ASB design framework will revolutionize building and architectural design and promote a broadly construed smart micro-grid information and execution platform supporting a decision support framework for optimal operation and interaction with the rest of the built environment. It will include provision for distributed generation and the infrastructure needed for occupants, building operators and equipment to interact with utility services and energy markets. It will improve the occupant quality of life and meet their preferences while reducing costs and increasing building-energy-supply reliability and autonomy.  To reach out to underrepresented minorities and women the CoPIs will rely on MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) six-week residential program addressed to outstanding Native American, Hispanic American and African American high school juniors. The project’s CoPIs and doctoral students will actively invite participating students to assist in ASB experiments, record, analyze and present data. Similarly they will rely on MIT’s Women’s four-week academic and residential experience Technology Program (WTP) offered to high school girls after their 11th grade, and leverage female student teaching.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation