Research Conducted by Associate Professer Avery Schwer
Advanced Water/ Energy Network Design for Sustainable Infrastructure – EPA
Electricity Management and Control Mediated by Sensor Networks – NCESR
The standard monitoring feedback mechanisms for electrical, water, and sewer (EWS) usage is the monthly bill. While this provides an aggregated use summary, it does not provide information timely enough to change consumer behavior so consumption is reduced. More timely feedback could help reduce the consumption of electrical, water, and sewer usage. Greater awareness of the consumption of EWS usage and possible concomitant reductions in the usage that may result from such awareness could benefit consumers and utilities. Consumers benefit through reduced monthly bills and utilities defer or avoid the costs associated with building new capacity to meet rising demand. A goal of this research is to investigate the effectiveness of devices for reducing consumption. An example would be the effective use of gray water systems (1) to reduce the consumption of potable water. The Durham School research team established it is possible to have 100% conveyance of sewage with gray water, thus eliminating the use of potable water for this application.
Another goal is to study changes in user behavior in response to feedback from devices and develop electricity monitoring, management and control technology, (2) that will switch off selected electrical loads when houses are vacant, and then switch these back on again just before occupants return, without sacrificing comfort or convenience. The prototype monitoring and control systems developed being developed in this project will establish the feasibility of this approach to the management of single and multi-family residential electricity consumption, providing us with pilot data that will be used in future proposals.