Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Chameleon Automated Residential Energy Management System

EPA Grant Number: SU834734
Title: Chameleon Automated Residential Energy Management System
Investigators: Lough, Katie Grantham , Baur, Stuart W.
Institution: Missouri University of Science and Technology
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Awards , Sustainability



The research objective of this proposal is to measure the environmental impact of automated energy management systems for residential structures. Residential climate control and creature comfort needs account for the majority of the residential energy demand. Many guidelines exist for design of passive solar characteristics in a structure to reduce heating and lighting demands. However, fewer design strategies exist for incorporating active energy management systems into residential structures. This research will address that gap in the sustainable built environment knowledge by investigating the type, usage and placement of sensors to monitor temperature and humidity and actuators to modify the interior climate of residential structures. Feasibility of a residential building adaptive energy management system will be determined by measuring the energy usage between two similar houses – one implemented with a Chameleon and one with no active system. The initial costs of the Chameleon along with the (assumed) energy savings achieved by the Chameleon outfitted house will be used to calculate a return on investment.


In order to accomplish the research objective, two houses at the Missouri University of Science and Technology Solar Village will be instrumented with a sensor suite that will allow a comprehensive array of inside and outside readings of temperature, humidity, solar intensity, wind (speed and direction) and fluid flow. The two houses, part of previous Solar Decathlon competitions, are similar in conditioned space and volume, insulation and heating and cooling systems. The Chameleon implemented house will be tested with different control algorithms as well to determine the more optimal controller design.

Expected Results:

The expected output of the project will be an experimentally determined Chameleon specification. The expected outcomes will include 1) a set of guidelines for implementing Chameleon in residential structures from both a retrofit and original design perspective and 2) a cost and energy analysis of Chameleon impact on the environment.