Mario Bergés wants to make our homes smarter. Since he joined CEE as an assistant professor in 2010, Bergés has focused his research efforts on using infrastructure monitoring and machine learning techniques to develop "smart" urban infrastructure—that is, infrastructure that self-regulates in response to changing internal and external conditions. His lab, INFERlab, is currently part of efforts funded by the National Science Foundation, Samsung Electronics, and Hewlett Packard to make buildings active participants in the power grid through monitoring and control of appliances' energy consumption.
When an appliance draws power from the grid, it leaves a unique electrical signature that can tell engineers how much power it consumes and whether it requires maintenance. Suman Giri, a PhD candidate in INFERlab, is studying how to disaggregate a home's total power consumption into individual appliance-level data. With this information at their disposal, consumers could take action by purchasing more energy-efficient appliances or reducing their use of certain appliances. Giri offered a simple analogy: "If you go shopping and receive a final, un-itemized bill, you cannot identify what cost the most or where to reduce your spending. When your bill is disaggregated to the item level, that arms you with the information you need to do something about it."
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