Ideation 1

Ideation 1

The ideation contest focuses on generating and aggregating pressing U.S. renewable and energy efficiency market needs and problem statements that can be solved through automation, algorithms, data, and software, especially by leveraging available data assets, tools, capabilities, and resources. Anyone can participate by submitting problem statements online or by voting on problem statements submissions from others. A contestant with a problem statement may win $1,000 in cash prizes when a team, who adopted this problem statement in their business solution, has been selected among top five winners by a panel of judges in accordance with the rules of the incubation contest.

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Ideation 1

Smart Energy Management Cloud Services For Buildings, Electric Vehicles and Distributed Grid

With today's emerging technologies, smart sensors and internet of things we see a growing need to develop a software platform which could aggregate, analyze and simplify all the energy data collected from buildings, electric vehicle charging, distributed grid which includes solar and storage to create an interactive cloud based platform for commercial/ residential buildings and utility managers that works autonomously ...more »

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Solar & Energy Efficiency Project Collaboration Software Solution

Imagine robust all inclusive software solution that streamlines the building project life cycle. Enabling all parties involved with the deployment process of solar and energy efficient projects to collaborate and connect in real time. The solution takes the workflow process and makes it more fluid and responsive allow those connected with each project to save time and money not to mention cutting the red tape. Who benefit: ...more »

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Collaborative Benchmarking, Learning and Acceleration platform for Intelligent Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency solution selection for building retrofits is inherently complicated, very information intensive and requires many stakeholders and experts to work together to select the appropriate solutions with sufficient verification of potential savings. For this reason, the uptake on efficiency improvements is extremely slow. With 17 million+ commercial buildings, it may take 20+years for the efficiency savings ...more »

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Building Automation is too expensive for smaller commercial buildings. Can software help?

Even for a relatively simple building such as a box retail store, the cost of a basic automation system starts at more than $10,000. That's a lot of capital to invest for energy efficiency, and many building owners and operators simply decide to do without. Instead, they install a basic programmable thermostat for each rooftop HVAC unit. While that solves their construction cost problem, it creates an even greater one ...more »

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Arcadia Power Universal Utility API

Solar installers do not have an easy way of grabbing a customers past utility bills - but that data is crucial to understanding the viability of a rooftop solar array. Arcadia Power has technology to allow any solar installer an easy API call to grab data from over 100 utilities.

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Homeowners with residential solar need a “check engine light” for their solar panels

Many homeowners with solar panels have no idea when minor maintenance issues have degraded or stopped the energy production from their installations. According to Pecan Street’s report on the need for a “check engine light for solar panels,” typical repairs require $25 and less than an hour of labor, but can often take systems offline for weeks or months. Even sophisticated homeowners who are actively monitoring their ...more »

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Solar Walls from Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC)

DSSC is a proven alternative to solar PV for generating electricity. While the efficiency of DSSC is lower per unit area, it is light and can be applied on large surfaces including vertical walls. Thus its low efficacy is offset by total electrical output. The idea is to generate electricity from solar energy on surfaces where PV installation is infeasible. Moreover the base dye can be synthesized in different colors ...more »

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Solar energy systems can't fully realize demand response potential

The current solar grid management solutions are sub-optimized because they generally fail to facilitate communications between products from different companies. There is no solution enables Demand- Response of the loads connected into the Solar Micro-Grid via load-level power-monitoring and direct control of the loads. Manycommunication-enabled energy/demand management devices (sensors, actuators, controllers) that originate ...more »

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Building management system components are not interoperable

The current solutions to building energy management, monitoring and control are sub-optimized for Demand-Response (DR) and Building Utilization Efficiency applications because they generally fail to facilitate communications between products from different companies. Many communication-enabled energy/demand management devices (sensors, actuators, controllers) that originate from different manufacturers have limited options ...more »

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App for mortgage lenders/borrowers to predict utility bills, local costs of EE/solar & effects upon total monthly expenses

One of the biggest hurdles for homeowners in performing deep energy efficiency retrofits or adding solar is a behavioral one, not technical or financial. It’s actually two problems. The first is that people tend to ignore the operational costs of an item, such as the utility bills of their home or fuel costs for their vehicle and focus solely on the sticker price or the monthly mortgage. This leads to non-realistic ...more »

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Peer to Peer PPA

Most major solar providers' websites contain eligibility checks regarding home ownership to determine customer potential. This restricts a large portion of the population (41% in sun-rich California) from directly accessible the benefits of solar. As a result, huge utility infrastructure cost shifts are occurring from solar homes toward non-solar homes. A solar solution is required for the rental market before the industry ...more »

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Enabling a solar solution for rental homes and businesses

Nearly all solar providers list home ownership and occupancy as an eligibility criteria to become a customer. This criteria eliminates the ability for a a significant portion of the population to access the benefits of solar. This leads to a significant cost shift as solar home and businesses, which are owned by their occupants, have access to savings that renters are not eligible for. The industry needs a solution to ...more »

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Streamline acquisition & design process by communicating the highest performing, buildable, PV systems without visiting the site

In recent years, the solar industry has seen major hard-costs declines, but has yet to adopt any developments that will dramatically reduce soft-costs. The industry needs a site assessment, design, documentation, and collaboration solution that will mitigate technical risks, improve efficiency, streamline processes, and decrease costs to homeowners, sales, installers, and funders.

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Financing nonprofits and cooperatives to go solar: the untapped commercial solar market

While residential solar grows at an astounding rate, commercial solar customers, specifically nonprofits and cooperatives, are left behind. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that in Q1 2015, residential solar installations grew by 11% over Q4 2014 rates while non-residential solar was down 24% from Q4 2014. “The non-residential market continues to struggle from longstanding barriers to customer origination ...more »

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Off-Grid Mobile Power Generation

Customers have a need for electrical power generation during an emergency scenario (hurricane, tornado, flooding, etc.). Fossil fuels may not be readily available for portable or mobile power generators. Customers have a need for electrical power generation in a remote location where grid power or mobile power generators are not feasible or not cost effective (ex. border security, night highway construction, oil/gas ...more »

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Low-Cost Automated Diagnostics for Commercial Buildings

It is well documented that 15% to 30% of total HVAC energy in commercial buildings is wasted due to faulty operation. Over 30% of all commercial floor space has management systems that could facilitate a “plug-and-play” diagnostic solution, but adoption of existing automated fault detection and diagnostic (AFDD) systems has been very slow in the market. The key difficulty in implementing AFDD in these commercial buildings ...more »

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Occupant feedback toolkit for evaluation of energy saving technologies and building performance

To increase adoption of energy efficient products and systems we need to understand if and how these products will impact the occupants of a building. While many building owners want to save energy, energy is still very cheap – by an order of magnitude - compared to the salaries of people who work in buildings. Therefore owners are unlikely to invest in energy efficiency if they are not confident that new products will ...more »

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No Building Has Lighting Automation That Is As Uncomplicated As A Basic Thermostat

No building (commercial, industrial or residential) has lighting automation and control that is as uncomplicated as a basic thermostat and this leads to an excessive demand on the energy grid, a negative impact on the carbon footprint, excessive electricity costs for the occupants, and may even mean an unsafe environment for inhabitants and visitors. The automation/control temperature-evolution has progressed from ...more »

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GIS software for roof Analysis

Many homes are often have a roof that is not optimal for a PV system. A software and data analysis tool could use the above view of google earth, the angle of the sun, and create algorithms that account for variables such as roof angles, trees, chimneys etc. Having a software that could automatically determine the optimal homes and commercial buildings for solar could prove to be a useful tool for lead generating companies ...more »

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Community Solar Marketplace Platform

Community solar (also known as shared solar) is the largest renewable energy growth market in the United States. Community solar models provide energy credits for multiple off-takers instead of the traditional singular energy user. Over 75% of solar energy consumers are unable to participate in the usage of rooftop solar energy because they are renters and do not own their roofs, because their property is unsuitable ...more »

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New translation layer for information input into software-tools

Architects and Engineers need a new translation layer for the information input into calculation software-tools. They need to value as easy and quickly as possible different architectural and engineering solutions. After an optimal decision is reached both engage in detailed design perhaps using BIM. There is a need to define graphically (and symbolically) the building architecture and the HVAC facilities and then ...more »

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The Public Energy Library: Open Data + Public Experiments

For thousands of years, libraries have housed human knowledge. From Alexandria to London and from Washington to your home town, libraries have been resources for information and learning. Technology has dramatically change the physical need for libraries. Miles of stacks of encyclopedias and journals can now live as 1s and 0s in the digital cloud transferred as the speed of light to your palm. It's time that the library ...more »

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Next Generation Solmetric

The solar industry needs to solve a next generation shading analysis and azimuth tool platform for the industry. Since Vivent bought the assets of Solmetric, there has been a great gap in the industry providing new sales agents with the tools necessary to conduct a complete shading analysis for a commercial and residential property. With the advent of powerful smart phones our industry needs to solve a new solution for ...more »

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Open digital interchange for residential HVAC

An open, non-proprietary, digital communications standard for household HVAC and IAQ information, diagnostics and control is needed to enable the balancing of residential energy use and occupant health and comfort on a whole-residence basis. Residential IAQ and ventilation become larger issues as buildings are tightened to improve energy efficiency. An optimizing ventilation scheme which balances residential energy use ...more »

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Air Quality Sensor Fusion

One obstacle to balancing residential energy use and occupant health and comfort is the overly-simple methods of controlling ventilation. Current ventilation rates are set by # of bedrooms, square footage, and other fixed quantities. A fusion of multiple sensors’ results would facilitate more a reliable estimate of required ventilation; this becomes the input to ventilation controllers, thermostats, exhaust fan operation, ...more »

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Tell me your woes, HVAC equipment

Newer HVAC equipment generally has on-board diagnostic systems. If your heat or AC cuts out and you have a repair person come to your home, they can connect to the equipment to help diagnose faults. Instead of having to wait until you don’t have heat or AC and you’re uncomfortable, why not have your HVAC system alert you to impending/detected faults. Based on analysis of data from a thermostat and HVAC system, there ...more »

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A Participatory Energy Management in Small Scale Community Microgrids

As an effort to energy management, a growing trend has formed toward establishing localized and shared energy infrastructures concentrating on the user’s end of energy consumption. Microgrids – as localized energy infrastructures - tend to empower users to interact with the energy management system to control their energy use and reduce energy costs via energy metering systems and feedback technologies. By displaying ...more »

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A Facebook for building users

We are starting to see products that collect direct real-time feedback from office building occupants, using mobile devices, desktop/laptop PCs, and - going forward -wearable technologies. Here, feedback on both occupants’ presence/absence and comfort preferences is used to avoid over air-conditioning and lighting while encouraging a more comfortable, productive working environment for employees. These occupant feedback ...more »

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Cloud-based life cycle energy use software platform for architects

The architecture industry spends significant amounts of time and money each year performing energy simulations. While intended to help create energy efficient buildings, the process is cumbersome and requires architects to manually iterate through design parameters - often leaving them to discover their design is energy inefficient. An intelligent energy simulation software platform is proposed that can reduce design ...more »

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Online Register of Research on Occupant Energy Management Strategies

According to IEA-EBC Annex 66, “Energy related occupant behavior in buildings … is a key issue for building design optimization, energy diagnosis, performance evaluation, and building energy simulation due to its significant impact on real energy use and indoor environmental quality in buildings. However the influence of occupant behavior is under-recognized or over-simplified in the design, construction, operation, and ...more »

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Mostly Crowd Sourced RECS and CBECS

The CBECS (commercial buildings energy consumption survey) and RECS (residential building energy consumption survey) datasets are widely used for national and regional benchmarking and decision making. These data sets are expensive to collect and as a result are updated infrequently. Given the number of commercial and residential building audits that occur in the US annually, is may be possible to crowd-source much of ...more »

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Occupant-Driven Building Management

Historically building operations have been driven by theoretical understandings of what makes occupants comfortable - a typical 2-4 degree fahrenheit deadband. However, comfort is subjective and varies greatly based on a number of external (and impossible to predict) factors, like clothing and activity levels to name a few. This leaves a majority of occupants dissatisfied, building managers chasing low priority hot ...more »

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Ain't No Meter Smart Enough

Most smart meters available on the market are not actually that smart. Meters display energy performance to the user and in some cases promote energy efficient behaviors by means of benchmarking, comparisons with other households at neighboring level, etc. Some companies reported notable energy savings simply by making these data available to the final users. However, the influence of occupant behavior on the energy performance ...more »

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Building Information Modeling (BIM) for building occupants

Currently, it is difficult to represent occupants in buildings, limiting our knowledge of (1) their impact on building energy consumption, (2) their presence during a disastrous event, or even (3) their comfort preferences. The goal of this project is to create an occupant information modeling (OIM) portal, leverage an existing occupant behavior Extensible Markup Language (obXML schema). Similar to BIM, the OIM will be ...more »

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A personalized sensor, ‘iSense’ that can infer occupant comfort

The idea is to develop a new sensor, ‘iSense’ that has the capabilities to detect occupancy status, occupant count, comfort status as well as human-building system interactions (i.e. interactions with windows, shades, lighting and the thermostat). Based on real-time data collected from the ‘iSense,’ an analytics and modeling package will provide diagnostic information on comfort issues, building operation, and worker ...more »

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Dynamic Occupants behaviour in current building simulations tools using Agent-Based Modelling

Energy simulation tools that are commonly used in the industry including TAS, TRNSys, and Energy Plus, are highly sensitive to occupancy related inputs such as energy consumption rates and occupant schedules. Although these software allow for variations in hourly occupancy loads, yet, they consider occupants as static entities in the modelling process; that all occupants have same energy consumption patterns with static ...more »

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Do you know your home's attic temperature? What you don't know could be costing you energy and money!

My idea concerns summer attic temperature data, informing home owners about it, and educating them on how to act upon this information. Most home owners would say "I don't know" if you were to ask them their attic temperature during the summer, or they would say "I had no idea!" if you were to tell them about the energy savings and financial savings they could reap if they knew their attic temperature and how to manage ...more »

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Comparing measured and simulated building performance data

Building performance analysts lack software tools to track and compare measured utility and sub-meter data, particularly with respect to simulation results. This results in an open feedback loop in the industry, with many analysts having a poor understanding of how buildings actually perform with respect to their models. A low cost and flexible way for analysts to catalog and compare simulation results to actual performance ...more »

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Connecting occupant behavior and real-time operations to Building energy model calibration

A detailed building energy model can be the best benchmark indicator of whether a building is meeting energy efficiency performance goals. With modern computing power, it is possible to use such a model on a periodic basis to make such an assessment. One of the biggest challenges of calibrating such a model is parametric input uncertainty. There are hundreds of model parameters that are uncertain to some degree and have ...more »

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Prioritizing energy use for value of building functions

Most advanced energy diagnostics tools prioritize building faults based on deviation from expected energy consumption. However, the value of energy used is less than the value of a comfortable, properly building to any organization. Therefore, pure energy efficiency should be a lower priority for fault diagnostics than assessing the functions provided by the building systems. Measured energy consumption can be used as ...more »

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Energy efficiency accountability for tenants

There is little accountability for energy efficiency on the part of lessee tenant occupants who do not pay utility bills in their buildings. This is true in both the large residential and commercial sectors. There needs to be a way to bring accountability into lease agreements to give the occupants incentive for energy-efficient behavior. A shared savings approach to ESCO agreements could be one way to do this. This could ...more »

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Cleanweb Klout Score - finding the Influencers of the new energy economy

Who are the real influencers behind this brave new world at the intersection of clean energy and Information Technology? There are some HUGE proponents of the new clean energy economy out there. Some like Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo use their star power to advocate for solar through various (social) media channels. Wouldn’t it be great to have a Klout.com-like score to draw attention to some of the biggest ...more »

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Solar Credit Where Credit is Due: Templates for Smarter Solar Loans

Unlike banks that are too big to fail, credit unions are owned by their members. These are democratically controlled by the same folks who deposit their hard-earned money, not by Wall Street bankers. So, when a good idea comes from the community, credit unions don’t need a team of quants to mess up the idea to maximize profits. Investing in solar is a good idea. Credit unions are just the right folks to make solar finance ...more »

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The Biggest Problem for Big Box Solar

Solar on commercial properties seems like a no-brainer. Your local supermarket, the big box store, and your office park, all have ample roof space, uncertain electricity bills, and corporate sustainability programs. Why aren't they going solar in droves? The utility-scale and home solar markets have been growing in leaps and bounds over the last decade, but the "mid-scale" market has been flat. What's the biggest thing ...more »

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CloudSolar - Own solar panels, no roof required

CloudSolar is a platform to provide a service to give anyone the ability to own solar panels, making solar energy accessible for people and organizations all over the world. The panels are installed on a remote CloudSolar farm where our team handles the installation and maintenance. As part of the CloudSolar experience, you can monitor the panel conditions through an online account on your own computer or portable devices. ...more »

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Solar Energy Data Dashboard

The world is moving towards a crucial climate change meeting in December 2015 (COP21). In June 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a World Energy Special Report which notes that there are "no signs of a weakening appetite for renewables," with solar expansion especially strong in Asia. From a methodological perspective, however, emission reductions in the energy sector after 2020 (described in the 450 Scenario) ...more »

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Data for Validation of Retrofit Audit Simulation Tools

Many building energy simulation tools exist to help determine the most cost effective energy retrofit packages for existing buildings. Evidence indicates that these tools frequently over-predict the base building energy usage and the energy savings from the retrofits. A large database of pre- and post-retrofit energy use data is needed to validate and improve the models and associated model calibration methods. Such a ...more »

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Solar Energy that is Modular and Shares Plugs with Purchased Electricity

I would like to see a starter kit that is modular, expandable, and compatible with the electricity that I currently use. Something that could cost less than $100 to begin with, but allows me to add on more panels as my interest increases. Solar Energy has often been considered to exist in the sphere of the rich homeowner or the well-funded investor. However, it has generally not been within the reach of the common person. ...more »

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DC Microgrid Controller for Tesla Powerwall and Other Battery Storage Systems

Problem: DC microgrids will play an important role in the sustainable electric infrastructure of the future but currently require a prohibitive amount of expertise and customization for substantial market penetration. Elon Musk announced on April 30th, 2015 that the Tesla Energy battery systems will be open-source (see attached link). I propose building on this open-source technology with a DC-DC converter/controller ...more »

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Diagnostics and Quality Assurance with Smart Thermostats Data

Smart thermostats are rapidly gaining market traction. They are producing valuable data regarding not only electricity use, but also oil and gas consumption. Can that data be used to diagnose problems in a home's equipment and/or the building itself (like a broken seal on a window)? Can the thermostat data be used to determine how effective a retrofit of the home was?

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