Our society increasingly recognizes the need to reduce energy usage and be more sustainable, not only address climate change but also to effectively manage scarce natural resources. Official studies report that the built environment, the human-made space in which people live, work, and recreate on a day-to-day basis including buildings, water management, and transportation account for the largest portion of the world’s energy expenditure and has the fastest growth rate. Clearly, systems and strategies to reduce this significant energy use can have a major impact worldwide, driving the current energy market toward self-sufficiency and self-sustainability. This calls for effective techniques and methods for modeling, simulation, analysis and control of energy use in built environments spanning transportation, water management, infrastructure in urban settings such as:
- Monitoring and control of infrastructure for the distribution and use of energy,
- Human behavior and energy consumption in built environments and mechanisms to influence them,
- Control and coordination for economical and efficient use of energy,
- Energy auditing and apportionment,
- Energy data analytics and data-driven energy management,
- Indoor environment quality and outdoor encouragement of non-motor transport,
- Integration of renewable energy in the built environment,
- Simulation and tools for building, urban and system-wide energy management,
- Hardware, software, and network systems for energy analytics and decision control.
Information Technology plays a key role in making the built environment around us more efficient. For example, wired and particularly wireless sensor-actuator networks are key to enabling energy-saving systems in buildings by providing a reliable, cost-effective and extensible solutions that can be placed in existing as well as new structures and are most importantly networked. Algorithms and novel large scale data analysis methods are at the early stages of helping us understand and model the complexities, and interdependencies, of the real world infrastructure system and in the process unlock mechanisms to detect anomalies as well as provide more holistic control. Finally, with the huge popularity of the smartphones and the proliferation of ubiquitous and inexpensive “Internet-of-Things” sensors, the built environment has the unprecedented opportunity to harness new contexts, and tightly integrate monitoring, services, and control with building occupants. BuildSys is a venue for incubating these new and exciting directions.