MIT SEMINAR SERIES IN MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTIVITY
Place: Room 33-116 Time: 12:00 P.M. Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
MIT Electrical Engineering & Mechanical Engineering
At any point in the life of a building, mechanical and electrical equipment – the services infrastructure – may be poorly operated. Equipment may be inadvertently left in operation when not needed: lights and fans running all night or air conditioning in unoccupied spaces. Or equipment may be operated in ignorance of the cost, a problem exacerbated by time-varying electrical rates. Further, as buildings age, both the equipment and the building façade or envelope – a part of the construction infrastructure – wear, cease to function properly, and eventually fail, via myriad processes that are often undetected. Current technological solutions for capturing or mitigating waste of electrical energy are asymmetrical. The costs of “energy scavenging” pennies worth of wasted electricity from millions of distinct locations is prohibitive. Energy control and management systems for buildings can provide real energy savings, but require expensive centralized control. Payback times on such an investment computed in terms of energy savings are prohibitively long.
The current model for making buildings “smart” about their energy consumption involves a decentralized network of sensors serving a centralized control for a largely decentralized collection of loads producing waste heat. We are considering other approaches, which make “dual use” of the electronics and sensing technologies that could be employed in a building. We are considering the value of a centralized monitor, easily installed, serving loads with decentralized control configured to permit centralized collection of waste heat. Every electrical load in this vision becomes a “dual-use” or “co-generating” electrical appliance, performing its primary function as efficiently as possible, while offering secondary heat generation in a centralized, efficient building plant for useful functions like heating hot water. In this approach, no formerly wasted watt is left behind.
Steven B. Leeb received his doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. He has served as a commissioned officer in the USAF reserves, and he has been a member on the M.I.T. faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science since 1993. He also holds a joint appointment in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves as MacVicar Fellow and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems. In his capacity as a Professor at M.I.T, he is concerned with the design, development, and maintenance processes for all kinds of machinery with electrical actuators, sensors, or power electronic drives. He is the author or co-author of over eighty publications and thirteen US Patents in the fields of electromechanics and