Occupant Behavior Driven Smart Building Controls

In the US, people spend 87% of their time in buildings. Understanding dynamic occupant presence and thermal comfort needs is crucial to ensuring that building design and operations provide healthy and productive living and working environments. Occupant behavior is becoming a leading factor for building energy use, but there are challenges to studying occupant behaviors, as they are complex and ever changing. Privacy issues and the high cost of sensors can make data collection difficult. The constant changes in the built environment caused by occupant behavior also result in both physiological and psychological effects on the occupants.

Professor Bing Dong’s presentation covered various research projects related to behavior driven controls and optimization of smart and connected buildings, from behavior-driven individual building energy optimization to urban scale energy management, from equipment level optimal controls to large scale buildings-to-grid integration. Professor Dong concluded with a research vision on behavior-driven urban energy infrastructure planning and management within a smart and connected community. 

Steven VonDeak presented the people count sensor platform, Density, Inc. To put it simply — Density counts people. Understanding how many people are in a space helps organizations improve building performance by making them safer, more efficient and more productive. Density’s people counting system places a premium on three key functionalities: anonymity, accuracy, and real-time data availability. This real-time room occupancy provides insight for a variety of use cases including intelligent demand-controlled HVAC operation. Organized in 2014, Density has grown to a 50-person startup and their proprietary hardware/software system is all assembled, tested and packaged right in Syracuse, NY.

Moderator:

Laura J. Steinberg
Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoEExecutive Director, Syracuse University Infrastructure InstituteProfessor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University

Dr. Steinberg’s research focuses on environmental phenomena’s effect on infrastructure, including how climate change is impacting infrastructure and environmental disasters. Her areas of expertise include environmental modeling and policy, diffusion of innovation, and critical infrastructure protection.

Presenters:

Bing Dong
Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse UniversitySyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow

Dr. Dong has more than 15 years experiences in building energy performance simulation, building controls and HVAC FDD. He is also actively involved in the projects related with occupancy behavior modeling in buildings, machine learning for sustainability, wireless sensor network in buildings and building information modeling. He has published more than 50 peer reviewed papers. His papers are cited more than 400 times by other researchers around the world. He specializes in Occupancy Behavior Modeling, Energy Performance M&V, Model-based Building HVAC Controls; Energy Performance Simulation, HVAC FDD and BIM. 

Steven VonDeak
Co-founder and Chief of Staff, Density, Inc.

Steven VonDeak is a co-founder and Chief of Staff at Density Inc, a 50-person venture-backed enterprise IoT company. Incorporated in 2014, Density helps organizations improve the performance of their space by making it safer, more efficient, and more productive. From 2014 to 2019, VonDeak has been responsible for supporting the varied operational needs of Density, including: finance, legal, and human resources. He is also the general manager of Density’s Syracuse office, where the company was founded and continues to run significant operations today. From 2008 to 2014, VonDeak founded and operated a digital consultancy specializing in web and mobile application development. He holds a JD from Syracuse University College of Law ’08 and a BA from the University of Rochester ’05.

Occupant Behavior Driven Smart Building Controls, A SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forum

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In the US, people spend 87% of their time in buildings. Understanding dynamic occupant presence and thermal comfort needs is crucial to ensuring that building design and operations provide healthy and productive living and working environments. Occupant behavior is becoming a leading factor for building energy use, but there are challenges to studying occupant behaviors, as they are complex and ever-changing. Privacy issues and the high cost of sensors can make data collection difficult. The constant changes in the built environment caused by occupant behavior also result in both physiological and psychological effects on the occupants.

Join us as we examine the challenges, benefits and opportunities of integrating occupant behaviors into the design and management of the built environment.

Professor Bing Dong’s presentation will cover various research projects related to behavior-driven controls and optimization of smart and connected buildings, from behavior-driven individual building energy optimization to urban scale energy management, from equipment level optimal controls to large scale buildings-to-grid integration. Professor Dong will conclude with a research vision on behavior-driven urban energy infrastructure planning and management within a smart and connected community. 
 
Steven VonDeak will present the people count sensor platform, Density, Inc. To put it simply — Density counts people. Understanding how many people are in a space helps organizations improve building performance by making them safer, more efficient and more productive. Density’s people counting system places a premium on three key functionalities: anonymity, accuracy, and real-time data availability. This real-time room occupancy provides insight for a variety of use cases including intelligent demand-controlled HVAC operation. Organized in 2014, Density has grown to a 50-person startup and their proprietary hardware/software system is all assembled, tested and packaged right in Syracuse, NY.
 
Moderator:
Laura J. Steinberg
Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoE
Executive Director, Syracuse University Infrastructure Institute
 
Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
Dr. Steinberg’s research focuses on environmental phenomena’s effect on infrastructure, including how climate change is impacting infrastructure and environmental disasters. Her areas of expertise include environmental modeling and policy, diffusion of innovation, and critical infrastructure protection. In addition to the role of interim executive director of SyracuseCoE, she is currently working with a multi-disciplinary team to determine how best to serve the needs of veterans and active military members who are interested in using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue undergraduate or graduate education. The team is investigating the educational aspirations and perceived obstacles of the veterans and members of the military using quantitative and qualitative methods, including extensive on-site interviews.
 
Presenters:
Bing Dong
Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
 
Dr. Dong has more than 15 years of experience in building energy performance simulation, building controls and HVAC FDD. He is also actively involved in projects related to occupancy behavior modeling in buildings, machine learning for sustainability, wireless sensor networks in buildings and building information modeling. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers. His papers are cited more than 400 times by other researchers around the world. He specializes in Occupancy Behavior Modeling, Energy Performance M&V, Model-based Building HVAC Controls; Energy Performance Simulation, HVAC FDD and BIM.
 
Steve VonDeak
Co-founder and Chief of Staff, Density, Inc.
 
Steven VonDeak is a co-founder and Chief of Staff at Density Inc, a 50-person venture-backed enterprise IoT company. Incorporated in 2014, Density helps organizations improve the performance of their space by making it safer, more efficient, and more productive. From 2014  to 2019, VonDeak has been responsible for supporting the varied operational needs of Density, including: finance, legal, and human resources. He is also the general manager of Density’s Syracuse office, where the company was founded and continues to run significant operations today. From 2008 to 2014, VonDeak founded and operated a digital consultancy specializing in web and mobile application development. He holds a JD from Syracuse University College of Law ’08 and a BA from the University of Rochester ’05.
 

R&T Forum: Air Cycles – From Mechanical to Soft Strategies

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Imagine tackling air pollution with “breathing” building systems!

Several cities around the world are suffering from the dire implications of atmospheric pollution, primarily in Asia and other developing regions. Although the severity of this problem has urged extensive research and regulation of outdoor ambient air quality (via legislation), this has not been the case for indoor space. In most cases, contemporary methods for conditioning indoor air have proved inadequate in moderating indoor air quality. Evidence has indicated that the air pollution within buildings can be higher in levels of toxicity from the outdoor urban air, while the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) characterizes the problem of indoor air quality (IAQ) as one of the top five most urgent environmental risks to public health.

In building science, indoor air quality and outdoor air quality are normatively considered as separate problems. The same logic leads to the development of mechanical systems for buildings. Highly advanced mechanical systems for treatment and control of AQ are primary focused on interior space, and, while some of these applications have proven very effective, the reality is that all of them still depend on the influx of fresh air from outdoors.

The objective of this presentation is to showcase an alternative paradigm, wherein a different building systems configuration logic could tackle air pollution in a more integrated way. Thinking of indoor and outdoor air intake simultaneously and developing strategies of exchange and flux at the outside lower atmospheric level, as well as the indoor level of habitable space, could decrease the levels of toxicity of indoor air. This research suggests a reconfigured typology of building envelopes and other building systems as a strategy for an ambient air environmental remediation. Framed as a combination of mechanical apparatuses and biological organisms, the exterior wall section will serve as a site of inquiry in coordinating orchestrated cycles of air between indoors and outdoors. In this context, it will be argued that augmenting the sensing capability of the exterior envelope, relative to larger environmental forces and patterns, such as winds and pollution levels, is critical to create truly interactive and porous “breathing” systems that will effectively contribute to a healthier urban environment.

Presenters:

Photo of Lydia Kallipoliti

Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar, currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and at the Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology in New York. Her research on the intersection of cybernetic and ecological theories is presented in a variety of media including online digital platforms, lexicons, databases and archives, exhibitions and holographic animations, with the scope of engaging a wide audience in what she calls ‘immersive scholarship.’ Her work has been displayed among other venues at the Venice Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Shenzhen Biennial, the Storefront of Art and Architecture, RIBA and the Disseny Hub Barcelona. Kallipoliti holds a SMArchS from MIT and a PhD from Princeton University. She is the principal of ANAcycle thinktank in Brooklyn, New York www.anacycle.com.

Photo of Andreas Theodoridis

Andreas Theodoridis is an architect, engineer and environmental analyst, currently a PhD Candidate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology in New York. Theodoridis has fifteen of experience in practice through the office he founded in Athens, 207×207 architecture network www.207×207.net. Theodoridis holds an MS in Sustainable Environmental Systems from Pratt Institute and has previously taught at Columbia University and Syracuse University.