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Alain Zarli, Eric Pascual, Daniel Cheung

Information and Communication Technology for Intelligent and Integrated Controls in Buildings: Current Developments and Future Research

Abstract: A common and acknowledged vision today is the one that, in the future, buildings, along with their components, equipments, and their environment will communicate and be able to provide information on their status ubiquitously. This real-time available information will be interoperable via common protocols for holistic automation & control. The whole building will be supervised by intelligent systems, able to combine information from all connected devices, from the Internet or from energy service providers in order to efficiently control HVAC (heating & cooling), lighting, and hot water systems along with energy production, storage and consumption devices inside the building, taking into account the users' needs and wishes. In such a context, ICT is recognised as key for empowering people in the (built) universe in which they live, with smart e-metering and new smart e-devices – as well as becoming fully pervasive in the future optimization of energy in the built environment - where “Energy-efficient smart buildings” are to be buildings which contain systems that manage information for an optimal operation of building energy flows over the whole building lifecycle.In such a context, CSTB has developed an open framework for data collection and processing, to be installed in any built environment. It supports networked heterogeneous sensors and actuators (with appropriate communication protocols technology), allows assembling various “business” functions (with easy evolution and extension capability thanks to a concept of service composition and event-driven management between modules), can accommodate any hardware platform constraint (memory, computing power), and can be executed in any environments supporting a Java SE implementation. The framework is itself based on an OSGi platform. The notion of “sensor” is to be considered in a comprehensive way: physical sensor (analogic or logic), complex sub-system or meta-sensor (e.g. Agilent data acquisition system or alike), or even external services (e.g. getting weather data via the Internet). Fields of applications are energy-efficiency in the built environment, but also Ambient-Assisted Living (AAL), internal air quality assessment, collection of data related to inhabitants behaviours, etc..The REEB coordination action (European strategic research roadmap to ICT enabled Energy-Efficiency in Buildings and construction), as a European R&D technology roadmap initiative (achieved in the context of an EC-funded Coordinated Action - http://www.ict-reeb.eu) has identified ICT contributions to the energy efficiency of buildings mainly via improvement (and corresponding RTD) in integrated design (and indeed ICT tools for Energy-Efficient design and production management), integrated and intelligent control, user awareness and decision support to various stakeholders throughout the whole life of buildings, energy management and trading, and integration technologies. As far as the integrated / intelligent control field is concerned, REEB has fundamentally identified the following areas for future investigation:• automation & control: system concepts, intelligent HVAC, smart lighting, ICT for micro-generation & storage systems, predictive control;• monitoring: instrumentation: smart metering;• quality of service: improved diagnostics, secure communications;• wireless sensor networks: hardware, operating systems, network design.The paper will first introduce to expectations, requirements and potential future scenarios for ICT to support integrated and optimised control in future so-called smart buildings. It will then introduce to the current trend of developments at CSTB in this area, and will present the CSTBox as a tool federating and/or complementing functions (potentially relying on already installed systems) in the built environment. After a short presentation of the REEB project, the paper will follow up with exhibiting the outcome of the REEB project in terms of roadmapping RTD activities in this technological field, also providing with a first insight of their potential impact in the future.Acknowledgement: the authors wish to thank the European Commission (DG INFSO) for its financial support to the REEB co-ordinated action. Moreover, the authors are also grateful to the REEB Consortium partners, namely ARUP, ACCIONA, CEA, LABEIN, TUD, UCC & VTT.

Keywords: Energy-efficient buildings, Intelligent and Integrated Control, REEB project, CSTBox framework, Data collection and storage

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Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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Cho-Chien Lu, Shih-Chung Kang, Shang-Hsien Hsieh

SimuSurvey: a computer-based simulator for survey training

Abstract: This paper presents the development of a computer-based simulator for survey training, referred to as SimuSurvey. Because modern survey instruments are usually expensive, difficult to maintain, and sensitive to weather conditions, surveying course instructors often find it difficult to supply sufficient high-quality instruments for the class. Also, the instructors often suffer the need to repeat similar instructions about instrument operations to individual stu-dents; and, lack a good means of recording each students learning progress. SimuSurvey was designed to address these issues - for use in survey training in a computer-generated virtual environment at a low cost. The functions cur-rently provided by SimuSurvey include: (1) the visualization of a survey instrument and measurement poles involved in an assigned survey task; (2) the simulation of the control interface of a real surveying instrument; (3) the recording of each students performed operations; and (4) design of learning activities for students to practice surveying tasks in a simulated environment. The focus of this paper is on the design and implementation of SimuSurvey. An example is pro-vided to demonstrate the applicability and effectiveness of SimuSurvey to survey training.

Keywords: simulator, survey training, engineering education, virtual reality, augmented reality

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Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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D Browne, K Menzel

Method for Validation of Building Simulation Results using Sensor Data

Abstract: In general, current Building Energy Simulation Tools are used for pre-construction design and comparison of designs rather than a full exact varying representation of reality. To provide the best level of detail full CFD analysis for the entire building would be required. However this is currently by far outside the scope of current computing power for a building energy system. Because these simulation tools are designed for comparison of potential designs and because of the difficulty in predicting occupant behaviour, very often the predicted results do not correlate with the real actual performance when buildings are in operation. From project experience encountered in the EU FP7 IntUBE project, a deficit has been encountered whereby the correlation between simulation results and real measured data is not entirely accurate. This paper discusses a method of validation, which will provide a means of comparing measured data (e.g. sensors and weather data), and simulated data (e.g. near future simulations). This method for validation of building simulation results initially involves a comparison of data from building simulation and respective measured sensor readings. From this comparison, value is added from correction of simulation results, and/or input to simulation parameters. Further worth can also be provided by gaining knowledge for creation of simulation profiles which are difficult to predict before construction & operation. Additional value can also be derived from identifying conditions of poor results and relevant factors which can be corrected. Simulation data and actual data is available from a housing unit in Barcelona Spain and research building in Cork Ireland.The expected result to be derived from this method is to give an indication of quality of simulated data results and provide feedback. If the difference between simulated and real data is too large, steps to improve results will be suggested. In future it is envisioned that automated adjustments may performed to simulation inputs to correct results. Aside from near future simulation validation, the tool may be able to provide long term commissioning feedback to detect and alert users to long term degradation of systems and possible maintenance or repair remedies.

Keywords: Simulation, Data Modelling, Validation

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Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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Dragana Nikolic, Sanghoon Lee, John I. Messner, Chimay Anumba

The Virtual Construction Simulator: Evaluating an Educational Simulation Application for Teaching Construction Management Concepts

Abstract: Understanding the dynamic nature of the construction process and the ability to make important decisions about resource utilization, sequencing, site layout, and project-related risks are critical skills for design and construction engineering students. Novice students lacking experience face challenges in learning and understanding how to manage risks, cost and time tradeoffs. An evolving area of research concerns the use of educational computer simulations to enhance the learning experience.The current development initiative at the Pennsylvania State University explores the value of educational simulations in teaching construction concepts such as scheduling, site congestion, resource management and resource allocation. The Virtual Construction Simulator (VCS), an interactive simulation game currently being developed and implemented, aims to engage students in an experiential simulation environment where they develop a construction schedule and make initial decisions about construction methods, resources, and activity sequence; and subsequently enter the simulation mode where certain factors and events are triggered. Stepping though the process, students assume more active role in learning the difference between the as-planned and as-built schedule resulting from the impact of factors such as weather, congestion, learning curve, or overtime based on construction project conditions.This paper discusses the development, and the results following the first implementation of the VCS simulation game this spring within the third year introductory course to Building and Construction Management course at Penn State. The pedagogical value of the VCS simulation game in fostering engaged, motivated, and deeper learning complementing the traditional teaching methods is also discussed.

Keywords: engineering education, construction management, simulation, game theory

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Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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E Sabbatini, G M Revela, A Sicilia, M Bhms

Integration of an Infrared-based monitoring system with an EIIP (Energy Information Integration Platform) for innovative efficient indoor environment control

Abstract: An innovative thermography based measurement system for real-time estimation of thermal behaviour of a room is already developed as part of the FP7 project IntUBE. The applied approach is based on indoor measurements by an infrared (IR) camera and image post-processing to derive mean surface temperatures, thermal comfort indices, air temperature, number of occupants with the relative heat gains generated and presence of other heat sources (e.g. computers). The purpose is to provide spatially distributed room energy information in order to obtain instantaneous feedback displayed for the users or eventually for automatic HVAC control. Lumped parameter model of the room receives data from IR camera to compute exchanged heat rate and air temperature. A low-cost IR sensor, commercially available as surveillance system with automatic movement control that can provide qualitative data output, has been upgraded with a new interface to achieve quantitative data. The paper describes the integration of energy information related to the developed monitoring device (e.g. PMV - Predictive Mean Vote, PPD - Predicted Percentage Dissatisfied, room air temperature as output, humidity value from external sensor as input) within the IntUBE Energy Information Integration Platform (EIIP). The key aspect of the platform is smartness or semantics: ICT applications will communicate via this integration platform on the basis of semantic building objects. Performance Information Model (PIM) server stores data regarding the actual monitored performances of a building (energy, temperature, humidity, PMV etc.). These operational data together with the actual weather data can be used e.g. to compare actual performances with simulated performances and can lead to corrective actions. The paper demonstrates that an advanced monitoring/control system (as the IR-based one) can benefit from retrieving data from the EIIP through SPARQL queries, thus activating new functionalities with interoperability guaranteed by the Platform semantics.

Keywords: Thermography, Thermal comfort, Integration Platform, Interoperability, Semantics

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Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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Hong Ha Le, Hans-Joachim Bargstaedt

A Simulation Approach to Integrate the Weather Impact into the Execution Planning

Abstract: The construction planning is complex because of many uncertainties occurring during the execution process. One of the uncertainties, which clearly affects construction activities, is bad weather conditions. From management perspective, it is worth simulating the construction process regarding to weather factors in order to make it more realistic and effective. In practice, the effect of weather can be included in planning stage based on the historical weather data or typical weather patterns of local areas. However, the weather condition variation is often complex and not always the same as how it used to be. Therefore, in the executing stage, the actual weather forecast on site should be considered, so that the execution plan for the next days will be more realistic. In the research project “Simulation of Outfitting Processes in Shipbuilding and Civil Engineering” (SIMoFIT) by the Bauhaus-University Weimar and the German shipyard company The Flensburgers, a constraint-based simulation approach was developed to improve the construction planning in civil engineering. The constraint-based concept is implemented using discrete-event simulation. Attributes and relations between work steps are described by hard and soft constraints. Thus the practical workflow schedule can be flexibly calculated, where all hard constraints are fulfilled and soft constraints are fulfilled as many as possible. This paper presents a simulation framework to incorporate the impact of weather factors into constraint-based simulation of construction processes, where the weather effects are described as constraints. Besides, a “WEATHER” component is described, which generates weather conditions and decides on the impact of weather on each work step. In this research, the data of 5-day free weather forecast retrieved from internet is utilized, where it is updated every 3 hours everyday. Finally, the non-weather- and weather- related-duration of execution processes are achieved and compared.Describing the impact of weather as constraints is a flexible, useful method to include weather effects into a execution process. Further research will concentrate on developing the “WEATHER” component more deeply, defining and optimizing construction strategies within a time-restricted space, and developing the assigning strategies of workers concerning the impact of weather conditions.

Keywords: Weather impact, construction planning, constraint-based simulation

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Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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J Prez, J_C Marcel, J Viuela, V Gay, M Bourdeau

FIEMSER: Energy Efficiency in Smart Residential Buildings

Abstract: Buildings are responsible for up to 40% of energy use in most countries. However, there is a great potential to improve this figure, and ICT is one of the key tools to achieve it. This paper will present how the FIEMSER system will contribute to increase the energy efficiency in residential buildings through a double strategy: optimizing the operation of the building (energy demand, local generation and storage) and improving the behaviour of the building users. The FIEMSER system is an innovative Building Energy Management System (BEMS) for existing and new residential buildings that is been developed in the context of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Current BEMSs have several weaknesses: predefined energy control strategies, lack of integration of the local energy generation with the building energy consumption, lighting system is completely decoupled from the HVAC system, based on wired control networks, limited interoperability, FIEMSER system will define dynamic and holistic control strategies that take into account the current and future building operating conditions (building users activities, weather conditions, energy prices,) and integrate the different energy related subsystems: HVAC, lighting, local generation and energy storage. The FIEMSER system leverages on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm with the definition of modular service interfaces. This paradigm provides the necessary flexibility to adapt the system to the different configurations, integrate existing control protocols and emerging wireless ones, and support different GUI (Graphical User Interface). This paper will address the following questions: opportunities to reduce energy demand and increase local generation in residential buildings; operation scenarios; functional requirements of the FIEMSER system; the OSGI-SOA architecture that supports it and the associated data model.

Keywords: Smart Buildings, Energy Efficiency, Intelligent Control, Local Generation

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Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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J. M. de la Garza, N. J. Yates & C. A. Arrington

Improving highway asset management with RFID technology

Abstract: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology mobilizes data through radio wave transmission with RFID tags. Two RFID systems, short-range and long-range, showed potential in assisting highway asset management programs of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) by providing access to condition data in the field; both systems were previously analyzed for tag retrieval and data storage. In this research, the short-range system is further analyzed to: evaluate affordable tag security methods, assist in highway asset location visualization, evaluate tag performance in weather conditions, and explore optimal tag attachment to highway mile markers. The long-range RFID system is further analyzed to: establish a wireless broadband-based system-data interface, perform a market analysis for an optimal wireless internet card for the interface, evaluate performance in predicted implementation scenarios, explore a combination of both RFID systems, and perform a system cost analysis. Results yield an overall positive impact on highway asset management using RFID technology.

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Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Kassem M,Chavada R,Dawood N,Benghi C,Sanches R

Road construction projects: an integrated and interactive visual tool for planning earthwork operations

Abstract: Road construction projects are expensive and highly affected by uncertainties related to factors such as weather, type of soil and other site and environmental factors. These uncertainties impact on the accuracy of predicting resource productivity and developing reliable schedules for earthwork operations. Current simulation and planning approaches and tools not only lack the capabilities of dealing with such uncertainties but they also lack the integration and intelligence to simulate multiple strategies a model should be built every time a new scenario is required. As a result, planning decisions regarding the assignment of resources are purely based on planners experience and project plans are not the outcomes of comparing various allocation strategies. This paper proposed an approach which is visual, interactive, and integrator of the functions involved in earthwork operation such as activity scheduling, resource productivity calculation, optimal distance calculation and profile visualization. This specifically addresses the challenges related to the limited intelligence and capability of simulating multiple strategies of resource allocation in earthwork operation. The proposed development builds upon a prior study (Castro and Dawood, 2005) that developed a knowledge-driven approach to tackle the uncertainty challenge affecting the productivity of resources. This paper hypothesizes that an integrated approach which integrates the various functions involved in earthwork operations and provides an interactive environment where planners could easily change planning decisions and promptly analyze the effect of their decisions could improve the reliability of plans and consequently improve the performance of road construction projects.

Keywords: Earthwork operations,interactivity,resource planning,visualisation

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Series: convr:2013 (browse)
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Kenzo Baba, Takao Eto, Masao Hisato

Monitoring system on the honshu-shikoku bridges

Abstract: The monitoring system is to measure the weather and structural conditions of a bridge. The measured data are logged in a database, and at the same time, processed by a personal computer to obtain a primary result of analysis. The database would also be used for more precise analyses, including a statistical one to review the design method and work out more reasonable one. This paper introduces the outline of the monitoring system, highlighting on the actual application which was employed in the Honshu-Shikoku Bridges.

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Series: ecce:1997 (browse)
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