DIY energy efficiency tool is runner up at E3 Hackathon
A team of ADSC smart grid researchers recently took second place in the Energy Efficiency for Everyone (E3) Hackathon, sponsored by Urban Prototyping Singapore, Energy Market Authority and Singapore Power.
ADSC research scientists Binbin Chen and Nils Tippenhauer, along with software engineer Varun Badrinath Krishna and senior research engineer William Temple competed in the three-day event to create prototype applications to encourage energy efficiency in Singapore’s residential sector.
Belkin WeMo Home Automation Systems, which they hope to use in living laboratory related research.
“The challenge for the hackathon was coming up with an innovative concept that you can actually execute, to some degree, during the competition,” Temple said.
The teams were given several data sets and asked to create a prototype web or mobile application that encouraged energy efficiency in Singapore’s residential sector. Participants had access to more than 24 million electricity records and 8 million gas records spanning 36 months, as well as related information such as weather forecasts, typical appliance energy consumption and census data. The winning teams may be granted access to this real data after the hackathon to continue developing their prototypes.
“In the commercial and industrial sector, if a company wants to improve their energy standing, they do an energy audit,” Temple said. “So why doesn’t this happen with homeowners? Unfortunately, it’s too expensive.”
To combat that problem, the ADSC team developed a web application and business model, called Efficionado, which is an affordable, do-it-yourself, home energy audit using rented smart plugs.
A consumer would rent the plugs for two days and plug them into key appliances at their home. During day one, the plugs measure typical energy consumption over a 24-hour period. On day two, the user implements targeted energy efficiency strategies and measures the consumption again. Users receive an analysis report when they return the plugs showing exactly where and how they can most easily cut down on their energy usage, as well as personalized energy efficiency labels to stick on the appliances to remind users of how much they can save if they keep practicing energy efficient behaviors.David Yau said. “Ideas like what we demonstrated will allow ADSC to monetize our research in energy monitoring and optimization and achieve broad impact through the mass market.”
ADSC smart grid researchers are currently highly involved in other energy efficiency research, as well. They have created a living laboratory in the ADSC offices to monitor energy consumption and are using an indoor sensor network to infer information about occupancy, thermal comfort and energy waste.
“Energy efficiency is an important research area in Singapore at the moment, as evidenced by the support from key government and industry players,” Temple said. “I think from that perspective, this competition was an important event to participate in and it is great that we were able to do well.”
For more information about the E3 Hackathon, view the following links: