I am a researcher in the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division, working for Alan Meier, with principal focuses on energy use and savings in electronics and in networks. I work with the technology industry and standards organizations to develop new technologies to save energy in electronics and networks, and am often invited to speak domestically and internationally on this topic. I have a BA in Architecture and MA in Energy & Resources, both from the University of California, Berkeley.
Current Major Research Topics
- Local Power Distribution: "Nanogrids"
- Lighting Control User Interface Standards
- Buildings as Networks
- ENERGY STAR Program Support: Computers, Displays, Imaging Equipment and Small Network Equipment
Today, most electricity use occurs within a single "pool" of power provided by the utility grid, much like the U.S. phone system was a single managed entity. An alternative is to move to a networked model of electricity distribution, particularly within buildings. We call this "Local Power Distribution," with the smallest unit of this being the "Nanogrid."
- Think Globally, Distribute Power Locally: The Promise of Nanogrids, IEEE Computer "Green IT" Column, September 2012.
- DC Local Power Distribution with Microgrids and Nanogrids, First International Conference on DC Microgrids, Atlanta, GA, June 2015. Slides
- The Need for Communications to Enable DC Power to be Successful, First International Conference on DC Microgrids, Atlanta, GA, June 2015. Slides
- DC Local Power Distribution: Technology, deployment, and pathways to success, IEEE Electrification Magazine, June 2016.
- Optimizing Device Operation with a Local Electricity Price, Micro-Energy International: Innovating Energy Access for Remote Areas: Discovering Untapped Resources, Berkeley, CA, April 2014. Slides
- Local Power Distribution with Nanogrids, International Green Computing Conference, Arlington, VA, June 2013.
- Rethinking Grids with Local Power Distribution, Keynote address to ACM e-Energy, Bangalore, India, July 2015.
- "The Fit Grid"-Principles for a better electric future, submission for the SEPA 51st State Process, Phase 2, March 2016.
- Local Grid Definitions, developed by the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, Home, Building and Industrial Working Group, February 25, 2016.
- Networked Local Power Distribution with Nanogrids from the 2nd Military and Commercial Microgrids workshop, May 2013. These update the presentation slides on Dynamic Nanogrid Concepts from the DOD Advanced Microgrid Concepts and Technologies Workshop, June 7-8, 2012. (a version of this also presented at the ACEEE 2012 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, August 15, 2012
- Paper on Nanogrids: Evolving our electricity systems from the bottom up (May 2010), Darnell Green Building Power Forum. Also, slides for the presentation.
Lighting Control User Interface Standards
In the past, lighting was either on or off: a single switch with two states was all that was needed for control. As each room had just a few distinct lights, the whole system of controls was fairly simple. Over time, the number of potential variables in how lighting may be controlled has grown, and now includes dimming, light color, occupancy sensing, daylight sensing, and scheduling. The number of controls that have multiple features, and their sophistication in being able to use them, is growing rapidly. In the absence of any common language for lighting controls to communicate their capabilities and status to the user, most remain opaque. Those controls that do include user interface elements do so in an ad hoc and inconsistent manner. Often the result is that the user gets less light or the wrong type of light for their needs. Even more often, more light is delivered than is needed, wasting energy.
There are exceptions. There is the convention in the U.S. and many other countries that "up" is associated with on or more (though many countries use the inverse association). There is a standard for vehicle dashboard controls (SAE J2402), that has symbols for many types of lights, and colors for status of selected ones. Many non-lighting contexts have well-established user-interface standards either formal or de facto. LBNL previously did work on user interface standards for power control of electronics that resulted in IEEE 1621.
In 2010, LBNL conducted background research (slides) that found no standards directly on this topic, but many that inform it. The following is an initial classification of concepts around lighting that can be used to organize standard content.
- Lighting in General — the overall concept of lighting, for when other controls also present
- Basic Control — on/off control
- Dimming — static control of light levels
- Characteristics of Light — e.g. color
- Physical Mappings — e..g. that more light is up or to the right
- Scheduling / timers — time-based control of light levels
- Dynamic control — e.g. from occupancy or daylight sensors
- Scenes — complex settings for collections of light sources
An initial lighting user interface standard is likely to cover aspects of the topics bolded above.
The goal of this project is to create an industry standard on lighting control user interface elements that is broadly used by manufacturers in their products. To accomplish this, we will need to:
- Survey new lighting control products for their user interfaces to identify elements currently in use.
- Identify those elements most suited to early standardization.
- Propose initial standard content for consideration by stakeholders.
- Gather reviews of the proposed standard content from manufacturers and others.
- Identify a standard organization most suited to hosting the standard.
- Revising the proposed standard content and presenting it to a standards organization to initiate a formal development process.
This process necessarily needs to be driven by manufacturers to be sure that it meets their needs and ensure buy-in to the results.
Buildings as Networks
A large amount of future energy savings in buildings is only possible through closely matching the energy services delivered to occupants to what they need and desire at each particular point in time (and as informed by prices). This is only possible by highly dynamic, effective, functional and robust future building networks, which are in turn only possible through adopting the goal of Universal Interoperability.
This needs to be the basis of a globally standard network architecture for future building networks. Just as the Internet was not an evolutionary step from existing common information networks, but rather introduced many new concepts, future building networks need to be designed from the ground up, not by adapting existing controls technologies. As with the Internet, we should expect this to enable future functionalities for buildings that we have not even imagined today.
- Beyond the Smart Grid: Building Networks (paper May 2010)
- Networks in Buildings: Which Path Forward?, ACEEE Summer Study Paper Paper. See also the slide presentation for this listed below. This incorporates most of the content of the draft discussion paper Necessary design infrastructure for energy-efficient networked buildings (February 12, 2008).
- Buildings as Networks: Danger, Opportunity, and Guiding Principles for Energy Efficiency from a workshop on "Digital Networks" held at the International Energy Agency on July 6, 2007. This was a background discussion document.
- Future Networking of Displays, speculation on where technology and energy use is headed (excerpted from EPA / Energy Star slides for Displays Stakeholder Meeting Sept. 25, 2008).
Other Current Projects/Interests
- Energy Reporting over Internet Protocol networks: 2016 Report, 2013 Report, Energy Reporting Framework and IETF Energy Management Working Group (concluded)
- Device Classification — Report on Simple Universal Device Classification (2014), Internet Draft and Presentation from IETF 82. Taxonomy of electronic and miscellaneous products (2006)
- Using Existing Networks For Energy Purposes, 2-page discussion paper
- Low-power mode residential energy consumption (almost 15% of California residential electricity is products in some low-power mode; about 2/3 electronics).
- First estimate (2004): Developing and Testing Low Power Mode Measurement Methods
- Updated estimate (2008): Low-Power Mode Energy Consumption in California Homes
- Low-power mode policy and regulation.
- Terminology and Definitions Needs for Low Power Mode Energy Use with Network Connectivity, prepared for CLASP, March 27, 2013
- European Union EuP Lot 26 'Network Standby': Comments prepared for CLASP on Tasks 1-7 (Jan 2011) and Comments prepared for CLASP on Tasks 8 (May 2011)
- EEDAL paper on Network connectivity and low-power mode energy consumption (2009)
- Slides presented at EEDAL 2011 on the Network Standby
- Service Provider Pays — how to save more set-top box energy use more easily
- Network equipment energy use — U.S. total estimate for 2008
- Electronics, Networks, and Energy — IEEE Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE), January 10, 2011
- Proxying: Reducing PC energy use with network technology — EEDN Seminar, September 10, 2010. 1 slide/page PDF or 6 slides/page PDF
- What the Real World Tells Us about Saving Energy in Electronics — Symposium on Energy Efficient Electronic Systems (E3S) — CITRIS / UCB, June 11, 2009
- Linux, Energy, and Networks: "Saving Large Amounts of Energy With Network Connectivity Proxying" — Linux Collaborative Summit, April 9, 2009
- ICT, Networks, and Energy: The Energy Perspective — OFC / NFOEC conference, March 22, 2009
- Digital Networks: Energy and Beyond — LBNL/EETD noon Seminar, January 9, 2009 (at actual seminar, only electronics slides shown)
- House of the Further Future: the 'Networked' House — LBNL Science at the Theater, May 10, 2010. Video available on YouTube
- The Case "Against" the Smart Grid - at I4energy Seminar Series - CITRIS — CITRIS / UCB , October 2, 2009. Video available on YouTube
- Networks, Standards, and Energy: The Energy Perspective — IEA/IEC/ISO Workshop on Standards and Climate Change, March 16-17, 2009
- Networks in Buildings: Which Path Forward? — 2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, August, 2008
Power Management Controls — standards for terms, symbols, indicators, etc. to increase power management savings.
Audio/Video Inter-Device Power Control — Proposed standard mechanism for managing audio/video content streams to enable automatic power management of A/V devices.