optimization paths it recommends and
determine which ones are successful. This
allows it to avoid strategies that haven’t
worked for later projects when similar
parameters are introduced. The software
has routinely calibrated test models to error rates below 1%.
“We had to use supercomputing re-
sources to create all the metadata used to
train the software, but the version that
will be available to the public doesn’t
require all of these high-performance
resources,” notes researcher Jibonananda
Sanyal. “We commonly run the software
on a laptop.”
The application is currently in beta
testing. The team anticipates a public
release in September 2015.
Autotune isn’t just for music
Researchers from the Oak
Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
have developed a new building energy
modeling tool that automates much
of the collection and adjustment of
building parameters, cutting down the
time investment and expertise needed.
Tentatively named after the popular note
correction practice in the music industry,
Autotune accurately estimates energy use
and evaluates potential energy efficiency
improvements while remaining relatively
hands-off for users.
Its power lies in streamlining data collection. With traditional energy modeling, experts must specify various building
parameters – up to 3,000 of them – in
order to manually generate a model, a
notoriously time-consuming practice.
The tax rebates and utility incentives that
require energy modeling often require an
error rate below 30% to calibrate building models to monthly utility bills.
However, Autotune uses about 150
of the most important parameters and
couples them with machine learning
algorithms, allowing it to learn from the
Autotune Your Energy Modeling Overnight
ORNL RESEARCHERS Jibonananda Sanyal (left) and Joshua New are developing energy modeling
software that automatically calibrates building models.
university plans to add a 30 k W ultraca-pacitor-based storage system that will be
combined with an existing concentrated
In addition, UCSD will be eligible for
up to $3.25 million in financial incentives
after the storage system is installed in
One of the most advanced
microgrids in the world is about
to expand with the addition of a
sophisticated energy storage system.
The existing microgrid at the University of California, San Diego generates
92% of the electricity used on the campus
annually. The 2.5 MW, 5 MWh storage
system uses lithium-ion iron-phosphate
batteries, which contain no heavy metals
or toxic electrolytes and are non-explo-sive and fire-safe even when exposed to
direct flames. The batteries will provide
another outlet to store intermittent renewable resources such as solar power.
UCSD’s microgrid also includes 3. 8
million gallons of thermal energy storage
used as a chiller during the warmest time
of day, as well as a second-life demonstration site for electic vehicle batteries. The
UC San Diego Expands Advanced Microgrid
GREEN BATTERIES capable of storing 2.5 MW and 5 MWh are about to join the existing
microgrid at the University of California, San Diego.
spring 2015. The same rebate program is
available to customers of any of the four
California investor-owned utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California
Edison, South California Gas, and San
Diego Gas & Electric. B