Research Lab @ Maxaur
Smart Thermostat

This research is not fully finished yet.

Architects and building owners are beginning to realize that healthier and more comfortable building occupants are happier and more productive. As a result, many of today's sustainable building designs take the issue of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) that includes comfort into consideration. To achieve IEQ , designers focus on comfort from four different perspectives:

  • Thermal comfort
  • Visual comfort
  • Acoustical comfort, and
  • Indoor Air Quality

There are six factors to consider when evaluating the conditions for optimal thermal comfort. A robust analysis will include measuring:

  • Air temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Surface temperatures that influence radiation
  • Occupant's personal metabolic rates
  • Amount of clothing worn by occupants
  • Air speed across body surfaces /li>
  • Indoor Air Quality

Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) is the largest source of residential energy consumption. Cheap and simple sensing technology can automatically sense occupancy and sleep patterns in a home and how to use these patterns to save energy by automatically turning off the home's HVAC system. We call this approach the smart thermostat. We evaluate this approach by deploying sensors in 12 homes and comparing the expected energy usage of our algorithm against existing approaches.

We demonstrate that our approach will achieve a 30% energy saving on average, at a cost of approximately $23 in sensors. In comparison, a commercially-available baseline approach that uses similar sensors saves only 6.8% energy on average, and actually increases energy consumption in 3 of the 12 households. By using a predictive system instead of a reactive one, deep temperature setbacks and slower but more efficient heating methods can be used, saving on energy usage.

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