CBERD: Integrated Sensors and Controls

You are here

Graphic: 12600 data samples collected to identify the power consumption signatures of nine categories of devices.
12600 data samples collected to identify the power consumption signatures of nine categories of devices.

Project Website: https://cberd.org/
Lead Performer: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab – Berkeley, CA
-- Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Troy, NY
-- International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad, India
DOE Funding: $625,000
Cost Share: $300,000
Project Term: FY13 - FY17
Funding Type: Joint Clean Energy Research and Development FOA (DE-FOA-0000506)

Project Objective

The U.S.-India Joint Center for Building Energy Research and Development (CBERD) conducts energy efficiency research and development (R&D) with a focus on integrating information technology with building controls and physical systems for commercial/high-rise residential units. There are several pervasive challenges in both U.S. and Indian buildings that are barriers to achieving energy savings, such as: 1) energy waste due to lack of coordination among building control systems, 2) comfort, lighting systems and miscellaneous equipment that are not controlled with spatial and temporal precision to respond to diverse occupant needs, and 3) loads in buildings that are not able to transact, or adjust their operation to conserve constrained energy resources (either in the grid or on-site) in a coordinated, cost-effective way. The high cost of today’s building automation systems is a notable barrier to adoption of any commercialized first-generation integrated systems. In response to these three challenges, this work seeks to accomplish the following:

  • Integrate control of HVAC, lighting, and plug loads into one platform, in order to provide better control (i.e., save energy) and reduce the cost of controls.
  • Apply transaction-based controls at the level of the individual workstation, using personalized controls, to reduce the use of scarce energy resources.
  • Use an integrated controls platform to reduce energy and load in grid-islanded, “resource constrained” buildings
  • Assess whether the VOLTTRON system is robust enough to handle conditions of grid intermittency and instability
  • Develop task-ambient lighting systems that reduce their power use in a way that maintains occupant comfort and productivity.
  • Demonstrate that control of a group of office workstations can have a measurable energy savings and load reduction effect on a building zone.

Project Impact

Development and demonstration of an open-source, integrated, transaction-based workstation and ambient control system. This will enable workstation-level control of HVAC, lighting and plug loads, interoperability with products from several manufacturers, and balancing comfort considerations with energy resource availability. 


DOE Technology Manager: Karma Sawyer and Marina Sofos
Lead Performer: Christian Kohler, LBNL


  1. Cheung, Iris, Vishal Garg, Steven Lanzisera. “Evaluation of the market and products enabling energy efficiency in lighting, plug-loads, and HVAC in buildings.” 2014.
  2. Amit Garg, P.R Shukla, Jyoti Maheshwari, Jigeesha Upadhyay. “An Assessment of Household Electricity Load Curves and Corresponding CO2 Marginal Abatement Cost Curves for Gujarat State, India.” Elsevier Energy Policy. 2013.
  3. Basu, Chandrayee, Prateek Bansal, Girish Ghatikar. “Enabling Efficient, Responsive, and Resilient Buildings: A Collaboration Between the United States and India.” 2013.
  4. Mathur, Jyotirmay. “Methodology for Performance Evaluation of Solar Photovoltaic Power Generation System in Buildings in India.” June 2013