SBIR Phase I: A Multifunctional Piezoelectric Smart Flooring System for Energy Efficient Control in Commercial Building Systems

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1113466
Agency Tracking Number: 1113466
Amount: $146,797.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1600 Huron Parkway, 2nd Floor, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-5001
DUNS: 831638312
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Andrew Zimmerman
 (734) 660-4286
Business Contact
 Andrew Zimmerman
Phone: (734) 660-4286
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a transformative green building technology that overcomes several limitations endemic to building automation systems in use today. Mainly, (a) the high cost of tethered sensor deployment, (b) the dependence on building energy, (c) the inaccuracy of occupancy sensors, and (d) the inability to adjust to changes in building usage over time. This project will utilize advanced wireless sensing technology to create a low-cost sensing platform that can be used to pervasively monitor building occupancy, environment, and energy consumption. These wireless sensors will then be embedded within a novel piezoelectric flooring system, which will provide power to the network using energy harvested from building foot traffic. By programming each wireless sensor with pattern classification capabilities, the resulting flooring system will be leveraged as an extremely accurate occupancy sensor. Lastly, by applying market-based optimization and reinforcement learning strategies, the resulting wireless smart floor itself will be designed to make optimal building control decisions in the midst of changing occupancy. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project centers around the improved and reliable implementation of wireless sensing and energy harvesting technologies within the built environment. While these technological benefits can be applied to a wide range of societal problems, this project is focused on maximizing the environmental and economic impact of green building automation technology. In the United States, commercial buildings have been documented to consume upwards of 18% of the Nation?s total energy and 35% of the Nation?s electricity. This is due in large part to the inefficient use of energy (e.g., the lighting, heating or air conditioning of unoccupied spaces). It has been found that green building technologies like the those being developed in this project have the potential to reduce annual U.S. commercial building energy consumption by roughly 6%, mitigating the environmental consequences of wasted energy while creating a green building market that could grow to nearly $150 billion by 2013. This project aims to capitalize on the potential economic and environmental impact of green building technologies by providing a self-powered wireless smart flooring system that can minimize unnecessary energy expenditure while providing building occupants with an additional level of comfort and environmental control.

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

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