A research project led by School of Information Studies (iSchool) professor Jason Dedrick has been selected as a winner in the 2016 Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (CoE) grants series.

The competitive grants are given to multi-disciplinary projects across Syracuse University and SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). This year, six projects engaging a total of 12 faculty members from four schools and colleges at Syracuse University and ESF were selected for awards.

The CoE awards expand the Faculty Fellows Program launched in the 2015-2016 academic year. Each faculty member who is involved in a project will be appointed as a Syracuse CoE Faculty Fellow for a three-year term, joining the ranks of 22 Syracuse CoE Faculty Fellows who were appointed last year. 

“These new projects will engage faculty members and students to address strategically targeted questions that align with Syracuse CoE’s mission to catalyze research that accelerates innovations in environmental and energy systems,“ says Syracuse CoE Executive Director Ed Bogucz, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “We look forward to growing this program and the support it provides to the researchers throughout the region.”

Professor Dedrick and his co-principal investigators, Elizabeth Krietemeyer and Tarek Rakha, both assistant professors in the School of Architecture, submitted a proposal for their project, VIS-SIM: A Framework for Designing Neighborhood Energy Efficiency through Data Visualization and Calibrated Urban Building Energy Simulation. 

“A new generation of urban building energy models are currently being developed to estimate neighborhood-scale hourly energy demand loads,” explained Dedrick. “The goal for such tools is to explore ‘what if’ scenarios for various design strategies, and to prioritize the most effective solutions.”

The objectives of the team’s research are to visualize the relationships between three critical and closely related subjects that are not yet integrated within existing models, chiefly the functioning of the electric grid and how it can be made cleaner, more efficient and more resilient; the use of energy by buildings and how this can be minimized while also improving building functionality and the comfort of occupants; and the dynamic external available natural resources of solar and wind energy for matching resource with demand.

By delving into energy-use datasets from the Pecan Street Institute for residential buildings in Austin, TX, combined with the team’s current visualization techniques and urban building simulation tools, a new model will be developed to simulate, test, and visualize future scenarios and strategies.

“Given the significantly large share of carbon emissions accounted for by electricity generation and energy use by buildings, and the comparison between supply, demand, and available renewable resources, the understanding and tools that will result from this visualization project, and succeeding projects enabled by this one, will be of critical economic and social value,” said Dedrick.

Expected outcomes of the team’s proposed work will lead to a methodology that can be applied to similar studies in northeast communities, such as Syracuse. 

“Expanding the data visualization platform to include calibrated energy-use positions this interdisciplinary research for state and national funding possibilities, and for establishing the Syracuse CoE as a leader in the areas of energy data visualization and design and testing of renewable energy strategies at the urban scale,” said Dedrick.