2nd EINSTEIN Workshop: IES Building Operations Research Update

By Daniel Coakley on Friday 2 December 2016

The second project workshop for our R&D Project EINSTEIN, was hosted at the Engineering Building at the National University of Ireland Galway last Monday 14th November. The workshop, kindly hosted by the College of Engineering and Informatics (CoEI), provided an opportunity for our building operations research team to engage with building stakeholders, students, researchers and external companies, in order to showcase current work and identify opportunities for collaboration.

To start off, an internal progress meeting between IES and TCD was held to discuss the latest EINSTEIN project developments, and progress on fault detection and model-predictive control. Emphasis was placed on the next phase of the project, where we will demonstrate these advanced control technologies in real pilot sites, at both TCD and NUI Galway.

In the afternoon, Dr. Jim Duggan, Vice-Dean of Research at NUI Galway, chaired a special seminar on ‘ICT and Smart Cities’, open to students, staff and the general public, in order to highlight the current research and opportunities in this area. Ms. Catherine Conaghan (Project Manager, IES Ltd.) gave an overview of current IES research in building operations – including methods to improve both energy efficiency and occupant comfort in new and existing buildings.

Catherine’s presentation covered the concept of smart cities and smart buildings, and how research in this space is driving improved integration between systems, buildings, communities and cities. The solutions being developed through collaborative research projects and training networks are helping to create the next generation of urban energy planners, and engineering solutions capable of leveraging novel ICT technologies to improve design and operational efficiency.

Prof. Biswajit Basu, (Prof. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, TCD) discussed how advanced algorithms traditionally used in the engineering dynamics domain are being applied to buildings, for the purpose of fault detection, demand-response and predictive control. In particular, Biswajit presented further detail on the EINSTEIN Project, which aims to develop the next generation of optimised building controllers, through a combination of data-driven fault detection and prediction-based control optimisation.

Finally, the evening session focused on a ‘Stakeholder feedback and information’ and ‘Collaboration Opportunities’ involving building operation research participants, as well as members of the NUI Galway academic and building operations staff. The purpose was to provide an overview of ongoing research work and give participants the opportunity to provide input or feedback on this work.

Dr. Marcus Keane provided an overview of the recently funded EU H2020 HIT2GAP project, a 4-year €7.9M project (2016-2019), involving 21 partners across 10 EU countries, including 3 Irish partners (NUI Galway, Cylon Controls and ZuTec Ltd.).  The project aims to create a modular platform to support plug-and-play modules that are designed to inform users about the operational performance of their building(s), based on data collected at systems level.

hit2gap – Highly Innovative building control Tools Tackling the energy Performance Gap from IES VE

I then presented on behalf of the EINSTEIN project, a 4-year Marie Curie IAPP project (2014-2017) between IES and TCD. The project aims to deliver specific services to end-users based on the availability of calibrated building energy models. Specifically, the project will deliver modules to support fault detection and diagnosis (FDD), decision support systems (DSS) for enhanced comfort and efficiency, as well as economic model-predictive control for optimised system control.

EINSTEIN Project Overview from IES VE

This fruitful session highlighted a number of areas of overlap and potential collaboration between the two research projects, as well as areas of interest for building operations personnel.

  • Mr. Vincent McCarthy (Cylon Controls) discussed the next generation controllers developed and deployed in the Engineering Building as part of the HIT2GAP project.
  • Dr. Jamie Goggins (Senior Lecturer, NUIG) highlighted the pilot ‘Battle of the Buildings’ initiative which aims to make students more aware of the energy use of campus buildings and to encourage energy-efficient behaviour through collegial competition.
  • Mr. Karl Byrne (Buildings Office, NUIG), highlighted potential for optimisation of supply system schedules to enhance operational efficiency.

We would like to thank all those who travelled to participate in the workshop last week. In particular, we would like to acknowledge the support of staff at the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway – Mr. Aodh Dalton, Dr. Jim Duggan, Ms. Sharon Allman, and Ms. Brid Flaherty. I would also like to extend special thanks to representatives who attended from various companies and research institutes: IRUSE/NUIG – Dr. Marcus Keane, Mr. Luis Blanes, Dr. Jamie Goggins and Mr. Karl Byrne; ZuTec Ltd.  – Mr. Brendan O’Riordan and Mr. Liam Stanley, Cylon Controls Ltd. –Mr. Vincent McCarthy, Mr. Paddy Gunn and Mr. Ke Wang; and PM Group – Dr. Barry McDermott.