Funded by a recent $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the project’s collaborators—principal investigator Professors Michael Caramanis (ME) and John Baillieul (ME) from Boston University’s College of Engineering, and Professor Leslie K. Norford and Associate Professor John E. Fernandez from the Building Technology Program in MIT’s Department of Architecture—plan to develop a new method to retrofit existing buildings and design new ones that minimize internal energy consumption and costs, and transact mutually beneficial electric energy exchanges with electric utilities.
The research team envisions equipping individual buildings with the capability to integrate production and consumption of electric energy via a smart micro-grid capable of monitoring and controlling smart appliances, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and other grid-friendly devices, as well as onsite electricity generation from rooftop photovoltaic panels and wind turbines. Each building would also be configured to exchange electric energy with external energy markets, enabling it to not only draw on external power sources but also to sell some of its own power to the grid—and neighboring electricity consumers on the grid—at low cost. For example, when clean energy generated from rooftop photovoltaic panels exceeds the building consumption rate, the excess will replace fossil fuel-generated electricity consumed by others on the utility side of the meter.
For more information, go to the College of Engineering News