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Using Software and Internet of Things Technology to Drive Behavioral Energy Savings in Commercial Buildings Using Building Orbs

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EP-D-16-004
Agency Tracking Number: B14P2-0006
Amount: $295,507.01
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 13-NCER-F1
Solicitation Number: SOL-NC-15-00005
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-01-31
Small Business Information
304 12th Street, Suite 3C
Oakland, CA 94607-4218
United States
DUNS: 626607993
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Vladi Shunturov
 (510) 388-4870
Business Contact
 Peter Rogers
Phone: (415) 999-9917
Research Institution

Patterns of electricity generation and consumption in the United States have rapidly changed over the past decade and are forecasted to continue doing so in coming decades. On the supply side, increasing generation from renewable sources has raised concerns about the ability of the electrical grid to stay stable given renewables’ intermittent and distributed nature, and has increased calls for new low-cost demand response (DR) capacity that can be added to grid operators’ arsenal of demand management tools. On the demand-side, consumption from behavior-driven miscellaneous electrical loads in commercial buildings is projected to increase dramatically, from 18% of electricity in commercial buildings in 2001 to as much as 38% in 2035. This has left facility managers and policy experts uncertain of how to keep electricity consumption and peak demand, and their associated costs, in check as occupants, rather than facility managers, increasingly hold primary influence over electricity usage and consumption patterns.
The project team, which includes original members of the Oberlin College P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) team, will begin by completing development of and testing novel, low-cost software tools that allows off-the-shelf, multi-colored, internet-connect LEDs such as the Philips Hue and the LIFX to be transformed into “Building Orbs” that can (a) reduce electricity use in commercial buildings by providing ambient color-based feedback to building occupants (b) tap the demand response potential of behavior-driven electric loads through visual messaging during demand response events and (c) engage building occupants in reducing peak electricity demand and associated utility bill costs through visual messaging by enabling behavior-based peak demand management. Built on BuildingOS - Lucid’s robust cloud-based operating system for commercial building - the resulting software will allow building managers to turn LED light bulbs into Building Orbs in a matter of minutes. A proof of concept for transforming off-the-shelf internet-connected LED light bulbs into Building Orbs was established during our SBIR Phase I research, which in turn built off of work done under our Phase I and Phase II P3 awards.
In the second part of the project, our team will conduct a rigorous field study and pilot of Building Orbs in approximately 75 to 150 buildings to allow us to analyze their effectiveness. Culling pilot buildings from Lucid customers will allow us to save significant costs and time.
Upon completion of the project, Building Orbs will be immediately available to commercial buildings that purchase a subscription to BuildingOS.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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