SAN FRANCISCO — (Nov. 10, 2011)
Researchers at the University of San Francisco and the University of Arkansas
have been awarded $400,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop new
technology to ease the burden of managing energy in homes fully or partially
powered by renewable sources, and are looking for residents living in homes
with solar panels or wind turbines who are willing to participate in the study
by sharing information on energy generation and consumption.
“More home owners are choosing to
augment or replace their connection to the power grid with these renewable
energy sources,” said Sami Rollins, associate professor of computer science at
the University of San Francisco. “Our
goal is to make it easier for users to manage the energy generated by these
sources. With this study, we aim to better understand their energy needs so
that we can develop new technology that helps environmentally conscious
homeowners to better match energy supply and demand."
Residents of off-grid and grid-tied
homes may participate in the study in three ways. First, residents are asked to fill out an
online survey about their experience installing and working with renewable
technology in the home. Second,
residents may choose to provide raw data on energy generation (e.g., KWh
produced by solar panels or wind turbines) and consumption (e.g., power
consumption of appliances) in the home if this information is available. Researchers will use this data to learn more
about energy needs of users as well as patterns of use. Third, the project seeks up to 15 residents
in the San Francisco Bay Area or the Fayetteville, Arkansas, area to install a
measurement and energy management system.
The system analyzes energy usage patterns and recommends improvements to
Participants in the third portion of
the study will have energy meters installed that collect readings on power
usage of individual devices in their homes such as lamps and televisions.
Researchers will also install a small PC that collects data on the total energy
generation of participants’ renewable energy sources (e.g., solar panels) and
the total energy consumption of the home. The system includes an iPhone
application and web-based user interface that provide access to raw data and
alerts the user when the system has recommendations. The recommendations can
help users save money by minimizing the use of an AC generator (in an off-grid home)
or maximizing the amount of electricity sold back to the grid (in a grid-tied
home). All the technology necessary for
the in-home data collection will be provided to the participating houses.
fortunate to partner with well known author, campaigner, and award-winning
documentary-maker Nick Rosen, who is helping to recruit home owners in the
off-grid community,” said University of Arkansas’ Nilanjan Banerjee. Banerjee
hopes this broader call for participation in data collection will lead to the
creation of a system that includes a measurement infrastructure to track power
consumption in the home. “Our goal is to garner and analyze information from a
diverse group of environmentally conscious homes, then use that knowledge to
improve the energy usage in homes across the board.”
“We are hopeful that grid-tied and
off-grid homes will take part in this study,” said Rollins.
“The participants will directly benefit
by becoming more aware of energy use, and implementing our recommendations will
lead to reduced energy consumption in their homes.”
Those interested in participating in
the study should register for more information by visiting http://www.greenhomestudy.com/
and clicking the Participant
Information Form tab at the top right.
About the University of Arkansas
University of Arkansas was founded in 1871 as a land-grant university and is
the flagship institution of the University of Arkansas System. The university
is located in Fayetteville and is the state’s foremost partner and resource for
education and economic development. The University of Arkansas offers 213
baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, professional and specialist degree programs.
It is in the top tier of research universities in the nation. More than 23,000
students attend the University of Arkansas.
the University of San Francisco
of San Francisco is in the heart of one of the most innovative and diverse
cities and features a vibrant community of students and faculty who achieve
excellence in their fields while building a more humane and just world. With
dedicated professors and diverse academic programs to choose from, the
university offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the
knowledge and skills needed to develop into ethical leaders who are sought
after in their professions. USF’s diverse student body benefits from direct
access to faculty, small class sizes, and a broad array of programs and
co-curricular opportunities. Informed by the university’s 156-year-old Jesuit
Catholic mission, the USF community ignites students’ passion for social
justice and the pursuit of the common good. For more information about the
University of San Francisco, please visit www.usfca.edu.