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Occupancy assessment and control of smart buildings and resilient infrastructure



OBJECTIVE: An autonomous system to assess inputs from sensors and allocate energy to functions in a facility to optimize usage for assets present, and to sense, report and respond to an event, track personnel, and sustain personnel and sensitive equipment. 

DESCRIPTION: Occupancy sensing technology has burgeoned for a decade, outpacing methods to apply sensed data to improve efficiency of energy usage. Technology is sought that autonomously gathers and processes information from various sensors to assess occupancy (personnel and materiel) of a facility, maintain inventory and tracking of these assets, and adjust environmental conditions to support them while minimizing energy usage. During an event, technology will reallocate power to respond to the emergency and minimize impact of that reallocation to assets present. Relevant state-of-the-art sensing technology ranges from complex IR systems (often cost-prohibitive for large scale networked implementation) to various simple motion detectors (low cost, but can present reliability limitations). All of these approaches require the deployment of new hardware, and vary in accuracy; motion detectors are qualitative, rather than quantitative, and exit/entry monitoring requires readers to be placed at all entrances. As a result, a variety of approaches have been evaluated but with scattered, inconsistent results. Occupancy assessment, however, does not necessarily require a designated suite of installed sensors, but can instead be assessed by analysis of knowledge-based inputs; i.e. computer usage, lighting levels, door key-card entry, telephone usage etc. Many of these metrics are monitored, but not integrated to a system that combines the inputs to generate occupancy profiles. Using contractor-selected sources of information, software solutions are sought that provide universal compatibility with sensors and affected assets and a useable management tool. A successful solution will have immediate applications in "smart" buildings that adjust to environmental conditions (lighting and temperature) to suit occupancy energy load demand. In addition to energy efficiency for fixed military installation applications there are significant opportunities to apply solutions to facility security and inventory management and control. The technology transition may extend from human occupancy for environmental conditioning, for example, to "machine" occupancy for remote inventory of equipment, security, and monitoring. The technology solution must be versatile enough to integrate information inputs in a rapid, real-time, and cost-effective marketable product. The focus of this effort is not an occupancy sensor, but a technical solution that derives situational awareness information (e.g., lighting and power drain (equipment on/off)) that can be used to detect and act upon occupancy/energy use/energy need/mission needs. 

PHASE I: Use small-scale testing and evaluation with selected sensors in four or more categories to demonstrate efficiency and to evaluate reliability of a program using sensor outputs to manage energy use by a set of military-relevant tasks and to sense and report faults in sensors and interacting utility service/components in functional structure to be selected IAW AFCEC guidance. 

PHASE II: Assemble a prototype system for field demonstration in a multifunctional facility operating in a relevant operating environment selected with AFCEC input. After the demo deliver the system to the Government for end-user evaluation. The prototype must control an HVAC system, allow user access to evaluate user-specific scenarios under adjustable assumptions, sense and report "errors," e.g., loss of electrical service, open breakers, smoke/fire, and respond as needed (e.g., failsafe door locks). 

PHASE III: Final product has market in energy-intensive industries, convention centers, office buildings, R&D labs. T/RH/IAQ control & depot inventory are routine; goal is one system to match energy use to changing environmental and materiel needs, monitor & report on infrastructure, secure site in blackout. 


1: Virtual occupancy sensors for real-time occupancy information in buildings. Building and Environment, 93 (2), 2015, 9-20

2:  (Removed on 9/28/17.)

3:  Occupancy measurement in commercial office buildings for demand-driven control applications-A survey and detection system evaluation. Energy and Buildings, 93, 2015, 303-314

4:  Smart occupancy sensors to reduce energy consumption. Energy and Buildings, 32 (1), 2000, 81-87 (added on 9/28/17.)


KEYWORDS: Energy Management, Integrated, Software, Interior Environment, Sensor Integration, Sensors, Emergency Response 

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