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Integrating energy use activities on the Internet of Things platform to monitor energy activity and benchmarking at MIT for decision making.



For any mitigation, we first need to assess and develop inventory of the uses. Internet of things (IoT) can be used to integrate various energy use activities at MIT campus level. Various activities, such as (1) transport system; (2) Utilities- Water supply, Central water heating, gas supply; (3) Electrical management system-  smart grid, smart metering; (4) Fire and security; (5) Medical services; (6) Taxes and payments; (7) Onsite and off site energy generation systems.

Integration of the energy use activities can help improve the energy use dynamics. Custom built automation technology to monitor and determine any cause of problem. This will alongside streamline the inventory management for energy activities on campus. Common Internet of Things (IoT) platform will bring the diverse platform to communicate with each other.  The process starts within the device system itself connects to IoT platform. The Internet of Things will integrate the data communicated through all the service portals, will apply analytics to extract the most valuable information for application as per specific needs.

At this stage integration of energy use activities on the Internet of things (IoT) platform will the first step towards accountable and incentive based energy savings. Here only system level integration of various energy sources and energy use activities will be done. Integration of individual energy use activity at end use / plug level has to be done afterwards. This stage will provide the holistic picture of energy use at MIT campus level. This will not only help in energy benchmarking but will also help evaluate other related factors.

This project can be a demonstrative prototype model for use of Internet of Things for energy activity monitoring and benchmarking at Campus / community level, which has scalable potential up to county / city level and beyond.

What actions do you propose?

Following actions are proposed, to be taken at MIT campus level-

  1. Automation of the transport system along with cash less fare transactions, monitoring of the traffic movements, notification of available space for parking, energy consumption at individual recharge junctions for vehicles, Monitoring of cycling tracks and pedestrian movements.
  2. Automation of the central water heating and gas supply. Primarily this will help is assessment of requirement at real time and based on artificial intelligence / analytics can predict demand. This will help reduce over production of hot water on campus.
  3. Electrical management system consisting of smart grids and smart metering to be installed. This will help analyze and also take preventive measure to help reduce wastage of energy. For example energy demand at one location will send demand information on IoT platform and from there which ever place / solar panels/ generators can send in demanded electricity to required location. This will require MIT to have a mini-grid on campus, to which all the energy generation devices (Solar panels, wind mills, etc.) will be connected through IoT. All consumption points to be linked on IoT platform to send demand requirements and self-manage the demand supply requirements. Smart metering will help analyze the energy uses precisely and based on that energy savings strategies can be framed.
  4. Fire and Safety management will also get integrated on the Internet of Things platform. Any probable fire safety and security issues can be instantly detected and responsible authorities will receive distress signals along with alert messages to the occupants.
  5. Medical services can also be integrated on IoT platform for quicker medical responses.
  6. Each MIT property to be integrated for both energy generation (Solar/Wind) and energy use at end user level. All this will help understand the energy use activities at first level. At next level the data can be analyzed to extract useful information for various decision making use at MIT campus level.
  7. All energy production sources and each energy use source need to be mapped and integrated at campus level. Sub metering of various high energy consuming activities (HVAC, Central heating) need to be done for better energy monitoring.
  8. Over all employees and students databases at MIT of their Taxes and payments can be integrated on IoT platform. This will help keep track of all the financial records at MIT level. This will further help in next stage of allotments of incentives (taxes, free access, and discounts for energy savings) 

Who will take these actions?

Various departments and authorities at MIT have to play significant role for the successful implementation of this project.

  1. Center for computational Engineering (CCE), Engineering Systems Division (ESD) and System Design and Management Program - To design and develop various system components and platforms to achieve targets. Basic outline of the various requirements for each component need to listed and focused approach to be taken for individual requirements along with integration options to the IoT.
  2. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (EECS) - Development of Internet of Things platform for information sharing.
  3. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) – Will play significant role in database management, data security and data analytics for information extraction and decision making.
  4. Mechanical Engineering Department- Can develop / source, required hardware for the project.
  5. Other than MIT departments, various industry partnership options need to be evaluated, who can help build and install the overall system along with integration of it on IoT platform.


Following actions need to be initiated and taken at various levels at MIT. 

  1. Board member/ Executive committee - Decision making for the plan implementation along with budget provisions will require approval at this level.
  2. Various departments with their expertise and capacity have to develop various required hardware, software and applications for the project.
  3. Faculty members / Professors / Experts will require to guide and help focus the project for intended results.
  4. Outreach – They will be required to search and establish relationship with industry experts and manufacturers, who will be required at the implementation and functioning of the project.
  5. Administration – Will ensure timely implementation of the project along with providing necessary support.
  6. Over all the whole of MIT community has to be informed of these activities and had to play significant role for making the project a success.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Since we are not aware of the present day emission scenarios at MIT campus level, calculations for emission reduction are not feasible. Collectively these steps can help MIT campus understand energy use patterns at campus. This understanding will help frame informed decision making or forming campus level energy use and management policies.

What are other key benefits?

Other key benefits will be-

  1. Informed decision making for energy use
  2. Responsibility sharing for energy savings
  3. Incentives for energy savings can be determined
  4. Next micro level monitoring of energy use at appliance level (Plug point level / Unit consumption level) will become significantly easier in the next phase of the project.  

What are the proposal’s costs?

Cost benefit analysis for the project will be based on various resources available at MIT and will require expert inputs from economists and finance department at MIT. 

Time line

Proposed activities can be finished in a time span of 5 years, time line as follows-

  1. Fist year:  Feasibility study, development of protocols, requirements, collaborative activities, resource mobilization, preliminary list of hardware and software requirements.
  2. Second year: Development of various required hardware and software’s for plan implementation. Channelizing and mobilizing industrial partners.
  3. Third year: Plan implantation with installation of hardware and software at various designated locations followed by testing and commissioning.
  4. Fourth year: Data collection and advance analytics for various benchmarking activities for energy use on MIT campus.
  5. Fifth year: Informed MIT campus level energy use and management policy decisions can be taken. Various incentives ranging from tax benefits to discounts to free access of community level service can be decided and starting using the same Internet of things platform. 

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