Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball struggles offensively in 69-53 loss against Richmond -

February 6, 2016

UMass women’s basketball falls short against Fordham Saturday afternoon -

February 6, 2016

UMass hockey loses ninth straight, falls to No. 9 BU 6-3 -

February 5, 2016

UMass hockey can’t heed coach John Micheletto’s warning in 6-3 loss against BU -

February 5, 2016

Jury convicts Patrick Durocher of rape, assault and battery -

February 5, 2016

UMass student dies Friday morning -

February 5, 2016

Puck Talk: UMass prepares for the Terriers -

February 5, 2016

Third and 20: the Super Bowl -

February 5, 2016

UMass women’s basketball set to take on Fordham at Mullins -

February 4, 2016

UMass investigating alleged misuse of campus resources within Physical Plant -

February 4, 2016

Closing arguments delivered as Patrick Durocher trial moves toward resolution -

February 4, 2016

UMass football announces 30 members to its 2016 recruiting class -

February 4, 2016

Dean’s Beans founder speaks at first MassPIRG meeting of semester -

February 4, 2016

UMass revises guest policy for Super Bowl weekend -

February 4, 2016

UMass graduates are ‘attractive to employers’ -

February 4, 2016

IT to host open forum, discuss new acceptable use and confidentiality policies -

February 4, 2016

Herrell’s hosts event to support Whole Children -

February 4, 2016

UMass police chief hiring procedure involves input from across campus -

February 4, 2016

UMass men’s and women’s track and field set to perform this weekend in preparation for the Atlantic 10 championships -

February 4, 2016

Heather MacLean shines in junior season for UMass track and field -

February 4, 2016

UMass awards engineer grant for energy efficiency research grant

Courtesy of umass.edu

Electrical and computer engineer David Irwin has received a five-year grant totaling at $461,434 to fund research on energy efficiency in houses and buildings, according to a university press release.

The grant was awarded to Irwin from the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development program, known as CAREER. According to the program’s website, CAREER awards grants specifically to faculty who exemplify their roles as “teacher-scholars,” through “outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

According to the press release, Irwin – a University of Massachusetts assistant professor – plans to create a “Wikipedia-style” website to collect data on energy use of a number of branded appliances. Visitors to the site will be able to add data on their own appliances or use the data on appliances as they see fit.  Irwin believes a greater understanding of how and why electrical consumption in devices is necessary for improvements in energy efficiency.

Irwin plans to use his research to develop software that will identify wasted electricity. He will then use this technology to program electrical devices in a building to turn energy on and off as needed. According to the release, Irwin stated that the system would be inexpensive, private, reliable, and sustainable.

“Using these methods, consumers could save an estimated 15 to 20 percent on their home’s electricity bill, while also reducing their carbon footprint,” said Irwin. Irwin’s goal is to make homes as energy efficient as possible, by creating a home that can monitor and control its own efficiency levels.

According to the press release, Irwin  faces the challenge of limited technology. While the current technology that monitors electrical devices can be utilized to aid building efficiency, in its current state it is expensive, invasive, and unreliable, according to Irwin.

In developing his software, Irwin is focusing on the automatic and scheduled control of appliances, which are switches and circuits in buildings that turn appliances off and on as needed. However, Irwin is also intent on preserving the privacy of those in the building.

Experimental sites for Irwin’s research are to be placed on and off campus according to the press release. Each site will be able to utilize a number of appliances, and will allow Irwin to run his experiments in a controlled environment.

Irwin will also be working at the Holyoke Gas & Electric Department, according to the press release, making use of their deployment of smart meters into the homes of customers. A smart meter, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Company website is a meter that records the amount of electrical energy consumed by a home or business, allowing the proprietor to bear witness to the extent of their energy use. The purpose of Irwin’s involvement with the department, he states, is to “figure out ways of using the vast amount of smart meter data utilities are collecting.”

Irwin hopes his research and software development will not only reduce homeowners’ electrical bills, but also to become useful in building control systems, according to the release. Irwin claims that the current building energy control systems “don’t manage the electrical usage to this degree of sophistication.”

Mitch Scuzzarella can be reached at mscuzzar@student.umass.edu

 

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