Understanding our energy consumption (Summer 2008-2009)

Computing has had a huge impact on the way we work and spend our leisure time. In the last ten years alone, the Internet has revolutionised communications and miniaturisation has put immense computing power literally in the palm of our hands. We believe computing can offer similarly large opportunities measuring, analysing and reducing our energy consumption in a variety of different domains, including seemingly diverse areas such as transportation, heating homes, and mobile devices. This vision is part of our Computing for the Future of the Planet research agenda.

  • Andy Hopper and Andrew Rice. Computing for the Future of the Planet. In Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 366(1881):3685--3697, 2008. [pdf]
  • Andy Hopper, Andrew Rice and Alastair Beresford, Computing for the future of the planet. In Engineering Change: Towards a sustainable future in the developing world, The Royal Academy of Engineering, 2008, pages 73--78, ISBN 1-903496-41-1. [pdf]
Dan Ryder-Cook

Dan Ryder-Cook

III Physics
Inventory-based energy modelling of the William Gates Building (Summer 2009)

Energy consumption of buildings in many developed countries is now estimated to account for between twenty and forty percent of total energy consumption. Contemporary approaches to understanding energy consumption often employ physical sensors, estimating energy consumption through simulation referencing complex physical models of building structure, heat flows and device usage. This approach can be accurate but does have disadvantages, including the purchase and maintenance of a large, complex and heterogeneous sensor network. This project takes an alternative approach, exploring how far you can get by crowd-sourcing inventory data from humans about their environment and combining this with data from a small number of simple and cheap chosen sensors.

Dan's work led to a conference publication: Andrew Rice, Simon Hay and Dan Ryder-Cook. A Limited-Data Model Of Building Energy Consumption. In 2nd ACM Workshop On Embedded Sensing Systems For Energy-Efficiency In Buildings (BuildSys 2010, in conjunction with ACM SenSys 2010) [pdf]

Daniel Thomas

Daniel Thomas

1A Natural Sciences
ReadYourMeter: an online service for recording and explaining meter readings (Summer 2009)

Last year three students collaboratively built ReadYourMeter.org, a website to help members of the general public record, understand and share their energy consumption with the aim of encouraging individuals to reduce their energy usage. This year Daniel is redesigning this website, taking into account the lessons learned last year as well as feedback from users of the current website.

We are very grateful to BT for sponsoring this project.

Pete Calvert

Pete Calvert

IA Computer Science Ravi Raja-Rayan

Ravi Raja-Rayan

1A Physics Dan Ryder-Cook

Dan Ryder-Cook

II Physics
ReadYourMeter: effecting change through recording meter readings (Summer 2008)

ReadYourMeter.org is an attempt to engage people with their energy consumption by making it easy to record meter readings and to see the effects of running experiments in energy conservation. The three students worked as a team developing the site in Ruby on Rails. We also developed an Flash application for interactive graphing and browsing of the energy consumption data.

The summer students were also co-supervised by David MacKay and Alan Blackwell. Thanks also go to Luke Church and Ian Davies for their help supervising the students.

ReadYourMeter website ReadYourMeter Graph