2020 Progress Report: Sensible Home: Micro-environmental control through wearable personal sensors

EPA Grant Number: SU836940
Title: Sensible Home: Micro-environmental control through wearable personal sensors
Investigators: Wang, Julian , Fan, Howard
Institution: University of Cincinnati
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Phase: II
Project Period: February 1, 2017 through January 31, 2019 (Extended to January 31, 2022)
Project Period Covered by this Report: February 1, 2020 through January 31,2021
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2016) Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Chemical Safety , Sustainable and Healthy Communities , P3 Awards


Our long-term research goal is to bring the human-in-the-loop of residential building controls using personal wearable sensors and lead to new advances in building energy efficiency and indoor comfort. As a step toward this, this P3 Phase II project targets the senior populations who were found to have significant demands regarding indoor comfort and health, develops a reliable integrative comfort model upon wearable sensor data, and determines the methods taking energy saving considerations into account. The experimental testing of the developed prototype consisting of a personal wearable module and a computing module connected to a laptop is planned for a senior living residence, in collaboration with a local non-profit continuing care retirement community. Built upon the theoretical demonstration in Phase I, the ultimate goal of this Phase II project is to improve and verify our concept and prepare it for implementation, in an effort to benefit individual indoor comfort (people), promote economic growth in smart buildings and healthcare (prosperity), and build energy efficiency (the planet).

Progress Summary:

Summary of Outputs/Outcomes

To respond to the limited access to the campus lab and restricted user testing because of the COVID-19 effects, the research team re-designed the data collection system to be coupled with personal mobile devices (e.g., smartphone) and developed wearable sensors, which enable the automatic data collection in individual living settings (e.g., apartment, house). This individualized comfort monitor system includes the hardware components to measure the thermal and visual comfort-related factors and software components to storage, transfer, and process data. Furthermore, a smartphone-based application has been developed to receive the alert message and notify the user to take the comfort-related survey. This smartphone app could control the start of data collection by connecting and turning on the wearable sensors. In order to reduce the frequency of surveys automatically generated from the app and wearable sensor, we also explored the online machine learning techniques for the micro-environmental comfort and control purposes.

Conclusions: In this project year, a new data collection system was developed in response to the pandemic influence. A few pilot user testing works of this data collection system and associated programs have been conducted, and the data measurement and collection effectiveness have been demonstrated. However, the efficiency compared to the conventional indoor comfort surveys has not been examined. Furthermore, we also found that two specific online learning techniques can be helpful to automatically adjust the thresholds pre-designed in this data collection system to further improve the data collection efficiency and effectiveness.

Future Activities:

With the designed system, the research team plans to conduct the remote user study and complete the individualized comfort modeling by the end of the next project year.

Journal Articles on this Report : 6 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 16 publications 6 publications in selected types All 6 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Li J, Qi M, Wang J. Designing for microclimatic comfort and health:A rapid prediction model of environmental conditions. Nano Life 2018;8(2):17-32. SU836940 (2017)
SU836940 (2020)
not available
Journal Article Song Y, Li J, Wang J, Hao S, Zhu N, Lin Z. Multi-criteria approach to passive space design in buildings: impact of courtyard spaces on public buildings in cold climates. Building and Environment 2015;89:295-307.
abstract available   full text available
SU836940 (2020)
SU836164 (Final)
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Duan Q, Wang J. Thermal Conditions Controlled by Thermostats:An Occupational Comfort and Well-being Perspective. Civil Engineering and Architecture 2017;5(5). .
    abstract available   full text available
    SU836940 (2017)
    SU836940 (2019)
    SU836940 (2020)
  • Other: Civil Engineering and Architecture - Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Li J, Qi M, Duan Q, Huo L, Wang J. Towards Pedestrian Microclimatic Comfort: A Rapid Predication Model for Street Winds and Pedestrian Thermal Sensation. Nano Life 2018;8(02):1840006.
    abstract available  
    SU836940 (2018)
    SU836940 (2019)
    SU836940 (2020)
  • Abstract: World Scientific - Abstract HTML
  • Journal Article Feng Y, Wang N, Wang J. Design of Real-Time Individualized Comfort Monitor System Used in Healthcare Facilities. International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction 2020 ; (pp. 261-270). Springer, Cham..
    abstract available  
    SU836940 (2020)
  • Abstract: Springer Abstract HTML
  • Journal Article Wang N, Feng Y, Wang, J. Development of A Spectral Integral Method for Analyzing Solar Effects through Windows on Indoor Thermal Comfort . International Solar Energy Society 2020.
    abstract available   full text available
    SU836940 (2020)
  • Full-text: Research Gate Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: Penn State Abstract HTML
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Micro-environmental control; wearable sensors; indoor comfort, building energy efficiency; personal factors; healthcare; data sensing and processing.

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • 2018 Progress Report
  • 2019 Progress Report

  • P3 Phase I:

    Sensible Home: Micro-environmental control through wearable personal sensors  | Final Report