Building Robotics Call for Innovation

MEAN RADIANT TEMPERATURE SENSING FOR IMPROVED THERMAL COMFORT

Background

Today's typical thermostat provides air temperature as the sole index of the thermal conditions in the space, and doesn’t account for other comfort factors, such as mean radiant temperature, humidity etc. Mean radiant temperature measurements are challenging in the presence of radiant panels, even in conventional air systems with large windows that can have large mean radiant temperature swings. Solar radiation can have a dramatic effect on perceived mean radiant temperature, and a frequent cause of discomfort. When people respond to solar radiation by adjusting their thermostat, we see the shortcomings of only using air temperature to control a space. After the sun sets and the excessively low thermostat temperature remains, the space will be overcooled. A promising solution is to use operative temperature as an indicator of thermal comfort that combines the effect of air temperature (dry bulb, Tdb) and Mean Radiant temperature (MRT), factoring in their respective heat transfer coefficients. MRT sensing is not well-developed.

The challenge

Design and develop a proof of concept mean radiant temperature (MRT) sensor that can be integrated with Building Robotics’ Comfy offering, with the following functionality targets:

  • Ability to accurately measure the MRT in the presence of radiant cooling or heating systems (for example the effect on MRT of a surface with a temperature of 2-4 K below ambient, at 6-8 ft way)
  • Ability to measure shortwave conditions that are a result of solar radiation
  • Deployable solution: the solution is intended to be deployed in commercial buildings that are in active use. The sensor cannot just sit on a desk.
  • Response time of <5 min to changes in the environment

Bonus features:

  • Separate identification of short wave radiation (i.e. sunlight)

This JUMP Call for Innovation requires only a written proposal. Review and consideration of ideas does not require submitters to provide Intellectual Property (IP) rights. If you are concerned about protecting your IP, choose the “Invisible to other Innovators” option when submitting your idea. That will enable the judges from reviewing your ideas but will not show it on the JUMP website.

The Award

A cash award of $3,000 will be sponsored by Building Robotics for the top selected technology submission. Depending on the needs identified, the idea submitter will also be invited to discuss future collaboration with Building Robotics and LBNL technical experts and discuss real world applications of this technology.

Successful JUMP winners may also elect to submit a "Request for Assistance (RFA)" for Round 3 or subsequent Rounds of the DOE Lab Impact Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot Small Business Voucher. Successful SBV requests may be provided up to $300k in the form of in-kind technical support for prototype development, testing, and other problem statements facing small businesses in the clean energy innovation space.

Additionally, Successful JUMP participants looking for funding and incubation support may be invited to participate in the prestigious Clean Tech Open Accelerator Program based on technical and market merit.

Idea Submission Deadline

November 11, 2016 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time

Building Robotics Call for Innovation

Comfort Eye

The Comfort Eye is a low-cost IR- sensor for the monitoring of Mean Radiant Temperature in indoor spaces. The IR sensor, a thermopile array, is mounted on a scanning device (pan and tilt system to be mounted on the ceiling or wall) to measure surfaces temperature and calculate mean radiant temperatures for different positions. A working protype is actually done, it has been validated in both lab and real environments. ...more »

Submitted by

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12 votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

SMART Sensor

The Spherical Motion Average Radiant Temperature (SMART) Sensor uses a low-cost LIDAR sensor and directional IR Thermopile on a two-axis scanning system to combine geometry-finding and surface temperature measurement for a complete characterization of a room's mean radiant temperature (MRT) - not just for a singular point, but for any given position within the room. The SMART Sensor can also detect human occupancy and ...more »

Submitted by (@jakerobertread)

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8 votes
8 up votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

MRT sensor project proposal

MRT sensor proposal; Statement of objective: Develop a commercially deployable Mean Radiant Temperature (MRT) sensor that can be integrated into a building control system. Background: Canonically, the typical MRT sensor used in thermal comfort research has been a 6 inch copper sphere with a temperature sensor mounted in the exact center – and painted black. When the globe is placed in a thermal environment, the globe ...more »

Submitted by (@marc94801)

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7 votes
8 up votes
1 down votes

Building Robotics Call for Innovation

Monitoring Thermal Comfort using Heat Flux Sensors

The following idea is also attached as a PDF document that includes figures that help demonstrate various aspects of the proposed system. The human body has a complex thermo-regulatory system to maintain core body temperature over a range of internal metabolism and environmental conditions. To maintain this balance for thermal comfort heat transfer must be controlled to the surroundings. Most people believe that a person’s ...more »

Submitted by

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6 votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

Climate control includes effect of MRT

The challenges: Design and develop a proof of concept mean radiant temperature (MRT) sensor that can be integrated with Building Robotics’ Comfy offering, with the following functionality targets: 1) Ability to accurately measure the MRT in the presence of radiant cooling or heating systems (for example the effect on MRT of a surface with a temperature of 2-4 K below ambient, at 6-8 ft way) 2) Ability to measure shortwave ...more »

Submitted by

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5 votes
7 up votes
2 down votes

Building Robotics Call for Innovation

Scanning infrared thermal sensor with camera

Infrared thermal sensors can identify "heat maps" of a given zone. A sensor such as https://www.melexis.com/en/product/MLX90614/Digital-Plug-Play-Infrared-Thermometer-TO-Can costs about $52 (probably less at higher volumes) By mounting such a sensor on a platform that rotates, one can get a heat map of the entire room. This can be augmented with a camera that can be used to detect surfaces, edges, etc., to build an ...more »

Submitted by (@sridhar)

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4 votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

Calibrated FLIR

Use a FLIR camera mounted in the corner of the room with a known temperature source in view. Software can calculate the temperatures in the field of view relative to the known source to use for the MRT formula. The advantage to this approach is that the sensor does not need to be mounted in the center of the room. This disadvantage is the cost of the sensor. The value of calibrated FLIR for MRT can be combined with ...more »

Submitted by (@vectrasoft)

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3 votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

MRT Sensor System for Building HVAC Control System

Incorporating MRT (mean radiant temperature) measurements into building HVAC systems should improve the overall comfort level of its occupants. However, obtaining accurate MRT readings and applying them to the HVAC system in a satisfactory way is inherently difficult for several reasons. Whereas an air temperature sensor can be placed almost anywhere that is exposed to adequate air flow, an MRT sensor must be located ...more »

Submitted by (@staghornridgellc)

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3 votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

Passive IR Motion Detector Sensor for MRT Measurement

I propose using Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors, similar to those used in motion detectors, to measure the infrared energy in a room and use correlations to convert this data into MRT values. PIR sensors of this type have several positive points to consider: • Wide detection angles; • Long detection range; • Inexpensive; • Rapid response; • Would be able to detect both absolute values and changes of the infrared ...more »

Submitted by (@staghornridgellc)

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2 votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

Simple and Compact Mean Radiant Temperature Measurement Device

The prevailing radiation fluxes of the real environment (I, Di, Ei) result in energy gain influenced by orientation of radiant sources (Fi and Fp), as well as by the absorption coefficients (Ak and Al) of the clothed body surface. The radiation flux density (RFD) [W/m^2] absorbed by the human body can be calculated as: RFD = [Al . Σ(Fi . Ei)] + [Ak . Σ(Fi . Di)] + (Ak . Fp . I) Equation # 1 I radiation intensity ...more »

Submitted by (@justibdh)

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2 votes
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Building Robotics Call for Innovation

SansEC Sensing Technology

SansEC (without Electrical Connections) sensors are a new class of sensors. Unlike all other sensors, SansEC sensors are stand alone components and are not part of an electrical circuit. They are wirelessly powered using external magnetic fields. SansEC sensors are remotely powered and interrogated, even through protective barriers. They can be encased in any non-conductive material, thus providing protection from ...more »

Submitted by (@gefreeman6)

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