Current Research Projects
NNA Research: Responding to Energy Insecurity in Artic Housing Using a Community-Based Participatory Research
This project aimed to answer the question of "How can existing Alaska Native housing be adapted to better alleviate energy insecurity? How effective are existing energy efficiency retrofits; how can they be improved to reduce energy burden long-term?" The project had many focuses, but a major aspect of this research was fieldwork to gain knowledge on local values, culture, and traditions in order to best tailor towards the community.
CAREER: CAS-Climate: Improving the Participation of Diverse Residential Buildings in Demand Side Management
The goal of this research project is to develop an integrated framework to assess Demand Side Management potential of diverse residential households, specifically targeting undeserved, lower income urban rural, and remote populations. The project was based on three research goals revolving around socioeconomic factors, the relationship to occupancy and energy consumption, and addressing potential occupant comfort barriers to DSM participation. The educational goal behind the research is to inform existing and future workforce in sustainable, smart buildings and DSM management.
Industrial Assessment Center at Michigan State University
Michigan State's Industrial Assessment Center was founded to allow faculty and students to work with Michigan Companies to save money, improve energy efficiency, and shrink carbon footprints. Michigan State offers the unique standpoint of being inclusive in their work, but also having the expertise to truly impact Michigan's communities and manufacturer's. (U.S. Department of Energy)
Adaptive, Multi-Layered Fenestration Elements for Optimum Building Energy Performance and Occupant Comfort
This project looks into the efforts of reducing energy demands in various type's of buildings throughout the world. The research specifically looks into fenestrations (windows), and their effect on both comfort and effiency. The research team collaborates with European colleagues in hopes of expanding knowledge. Teams involved aim to find practical solutions to improve the design and performance of fenestration within buildings. (National Science Foundation)
Simulation, Challenge Testing & Validation of Occupancy Recognition & CO2 Technologies (ARPA-E SENSOR program)
This project aims to find and develop user transparent sensor systems that accurately quantify human presence to dramatically reduce energy use in commercial and residential buildings. The goal of this project is to create teams across Universities and Research Centers that develop sensing technologies that minimize or eliminate the need for human intervention while pursuing aggressive cost, performance, privacy, and usability requirements.
Completed Research Projects
A Framework for Assessing the Impact of Extreme Heat and Drought Climate Scenarios on Urban Energy Production and Consumption (National Science Foundation)
The aim of this project was to tackle electricity issues during times of extreme heat and drought. The project links climate modeling consumption and production, and contributes to three major scientific advancements; generating refined future extreme heat and drought scenarios, development of a flexible electricity consumption model, and development of a data-driven stochastic optimization method for robust power-generation decision strategies.
Future growth of diverse demand response resources and their impact on transmission and distribution (Sloan Foundation)
Bridging the Gap Between Academia and Industry in Approaches for Solving Complex, Ill-Structured Problems (National Science Foundation)
The goal of this project is to prepare engineering students in college for problems that may not be covered in higher education. The students are presented with problems that may not be covered in a curriculum, in hopes of analyzing their responses to better prepare them for issues post-graduation. The current phase includes three parts, (1) problem formulation; (2) protocol development; and (3) pilot study.
Pavement is directly effected by the roughness, or smoothness, of the road. However, data collection revolving pavement is typically expensive. The goal in this project is to create a low cost smartphone collection based system to gather information on pavement distress levels annually. The project has five objects: (1)develop a smartphone-based pavement roughness measurement system, (2)identify and evaluate the potential capacities of a smartphone-based tool for detecting and measuring other road surface distress types, (3)develop a standardized nonproprietary data collection tool that can be used to collect roughness data required for pavement management, (4)test and calibrate the standardized nonproprietary collection tool for the various selected brands, (5)evaluate effective options to provide wireless communication links to deliver data.
The project has two main objectives; (1) Extensively instrument and monitor four granular-surfaced roadway sites around Iowa to obtain soil moisture, temperature, matric potential, frost-depth, and thawing period data for a range of Iowa soil types, moisture conditions, and climate conditions, (2)Begin developing computational and theoretical models for predicting the depths and durations of freezing and thawing in soils beneath granular-surfaced roadways, and evaluate their forecasting accuracy using NWS data for eventual statewide use without the need for subgrade soil sensors.
Many transportation agencies allocate significant time and resources each year to remove ice and snow from their paved surfaces to achieve a safe, accessible, and operational transportation network. An electrically conductive concrete (ECON) heated pavement system (HPS) has been shown to be a promising alternative to conventional snow removal operations using snowplows and deicing chemicals, which is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and environmentally unfriendly. An ECON HPS utilizes the inherent electrical resistance of concrete to maintain the pavement surface at above-freezing temperatures and thus prevent snow and ice accumulation on the surface. Such a sustainable concrete pavement system improves its infrastructure resiliency by allowing it to be safe, open, and accessible during even harsh winter storms.
Heated Airport Pavements Task 1-I: Updating FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-17, Airside Use of Heated Pavements (Federal Aviation Administration)
Winter conditions such as snow and slush negatively impact airport success, as occupancy declines and likelihood for incidents increases due to conditions. Although traditional strategies of mechanical removal like shoveling and plowing, and chemical treatments such as salt to remove ice can be effective, the goal is to find an alternative to these methods through heated pavements. The benefits of this include improving winter operation capacity, reduction in environmental impacts of chemical methods previously used, and improvement of time effiency.
Data-driven Assessment of Energy Efficiency Investment Behaviors of Midwest Residential Homeowners
The goal in this project is to assess the investment behaviors of homeowners regarding energy efficient technologies within their homes. The three keys to this project aim to look at; (1) Why homeowners have not made energy efficient investments, (2)Why HVAC is the first energy efficient investment, (3) How willing homeowners are to make efficient investments, (4) Characterizing homes/homeowners who have made investments, (5) Portraying cost/ benefit analysis.
Energy Efficiency in U.S. Rental Housing: Adoption Rates and Impact on Rent (internal-funding)
This project aims to look at the effect of energy efficient rental properties in three ways; (1) What are the adoption rates of energy efficient features in rental properties? (2) Does having energy efficient features in rental properties increase rental asking prices? (3) Is there a relationship between energy efficient premiums and location-specific environmental conditions?
Rental property owners need additional motivation and tangible benefits to invest in energy efficiency to reduce the energy efficiency gap.
Development of Advanced Construction Strategies for Improved Energy Efficiency of Buildings (Iowa Energy Center)
Full-Scale Demonstration of Heated Portland Cement Concrete Pavement System: Energy and Thermodynamic Modeling (Federal Aviation Administration)
Electrically conductive asphalt being proposed in hopes of preventing the possibility of long delays at airports. The key in this project is to determine the accuracy for measuring heat sensitivity of heated pavement in comparison to parameters of ECON. Next steps for this project include modeling the melting process of snow and ice, calculation energy consumption, and studying the technical performance of the model.
Thermal Comfort Evaluation Methodology for Residential Buildings (NSF)
This project looks into the use of residential HVAC systems, particularly in warmer climate zones, the electric grid in these locations experiences large fluctuations in the electricity demand (MW) during the summer months, while balancing occupant comfort. The five-step evaluation methodology includes: (1) design variable definition, (2) building energy modeling (BEM), (3) response surface development, (4) probabilistic evaluation using the response surface, and (5) result interpretation.
Full-Scale Testing of Heated Airport Pavements (Federal Aviation Administration)
The aim of this project is to test pavement based on three classifications- low, medium, or high strength. Test items are used until failure and then reconstructed. By doing so, it allows for a variety of compounds to be tested to see which results are most beneficial. This construction cycle includes test pavement construction, traffic tests to failure, post traffic testing, and pavement removal. Static and dynamic sensors are used to track and collect data.
Building Materials for Energy Efficiency: Adaptable Educational Modules (Iowa Energy Center)
The project serves to improve energy effiency in residential and commercial building sectors. The hope in this project is to educate students to be able to provide students with the knowledge they need in order to effectively apply energy efficient strategies to not only existing buildings, but also a new generation of buildings to come.
Impact of Using Electric Ground Power Systems on Airport Electricity Demand Profile (Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP))
Development of Agricultural-Based Phase Change Materials for Building Applications (Iowa Energy Center)
Guide to Life-Cycle Data and Information Sharing Workflow for Transportation Assets (Iowa Department of Transportation)
The objective of this project was to capture industry knowledge in regards to transportation assets, develop business process maps and data sharing maps for various types, and offer guidance in ways to better store, collect, and analyze data.
Effect of Dynamic Shading Devices on Daylighting and Energy Performance of Perimeter Zones (ASHRAE 1710-RP)
The objective in this research is to find the effectiveness and energy savings potential of a variety of types of dynamic shading devices and electric lighting control in office spaces. The importance of these office buildings is finding the energy efficiency potential, while also considering the human element of comfort with light and temperature in the building.
Appliance Daily Energy Use in Residential Buildings: Use Profiles and Model Development (NSF/Pecan Street Research Institute)
This study provides daily energy use profiles of four major household appliances: refrigerator, clothes washer, clothes dryer, and dishwasher, through analyzing disaggregated energy use data collected for 40 single family homes in Austin, TX. The study aims to look at three questions; (1) When and how much energy do appliances use throughout the day? (2) How much do these usages vary between homes and why does this vary? (3) What is the least amount of time needed to conduct a load profile?
Sustainability Analysis of Unpaved Road Construction with Recycled Materials in Council Bluffs, IA (U.S. EPA)
This project aims to look at the balance between funding for paving and upkeep of roads, while considering the cost, time, and energy effiency of paving roads. The research team will conduct a sustainability assessment of the new unpaved road construction and maintenance methods using the BE2ST-in-Highways assessment method. This assessment includes both Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) to assess the cost savings, and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to assess environmental impacts and several other factors.
Residential Building Energy Data Analysis and Modeling (Earth Networks Inc
This project aims to provide more informed insights to customers about their energy use, peer comparisons, and recommendations to reduce energy use. This methodology uses a simplified thermodynamic model of the building that determines the type of HVAC system in use, and predicts future energy use based on the future month’s weather forecast. The results are used in a monthly scorecard provided to residential customers, which also includes targeted energy savings recommendations driven off peer comparisons.