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embertecEmbertec is the latest member to join CalPlug. Embertec provides energy efficient solutions for consumer electronics and similar appliances. Their power saving devices are designed to automatically manage the attached electronic devices. Embertec’s products, the Emberplug and EmberCeptor, shut off power to electronic devices when they are not in use, and turn the devices back on when they are going to be used. The Emberplug and EmberCeptor not only account for active power, but standby power as well. All of the benefits of electronic devices becoming more energy efficient is achieved while using Embertec’s products without any interaction from the user.

solardecath1 CalPlug presented its latest progress in energy efficiency research, representing UCI at the Solar Decathlon this past October. The Set Top Box (STB) project was on display, which is focused on developing a prototype of next-generation energy-efficient set top boxes. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate a “light sleep” enabled STB platform in a laboratory environment, exploring both hardware and software solutions in order to retrofit other STB devices already in use with the “light sleep” functionality. CalPlug also demonstrated the virtual version of the Wall of Power (WoP), which is designed to highlight energy usage and cost associated with using common household electronic devices. The WoP also aims to present the information it displays in an easily understood manner through an interactive interface. Overall, a large audience showed interest in the demonstrations and information presented at the CalPlug booth.

Going forward, CalPlug is a component of UCI’s Team Orange, applying to be a part of the 2015 Solar Decathalon. The team’s project, known as Casa Del Sol, aims to adhere to the latest zero-net energy standards using the latest energy efficient technology, educating both students and the general public on the latest innovations in green building.

Casa Del Sol is inspired by the California state flower, a drought-resistent, sun-embracing poppy. Employing biophilic design methods, the Spanish-style home makes use of a synthesis of green building best practices. Using adaptive technological innovation, the home will respond to, and eventually predict, user’s behavior as s/he occupies it. Integration of a 3D- printer allows residents to maintain, create and recycle plastic features within the home, pulling from a digital database. Energy use is managed by our smart-grid integrated Building Adaptive Smart-Home System and Nano-grid. The well-insulated home makes use of natural ventilation, passive solar techniques and an energy recovery ventilator to minimize power demand from our grid-tied solar PV panels. A ductless mini-split heat pump provides a mechanical back for our HVAC. Rainwater catchment and other water reduction techniques make this a drought-resistant home.

This project will become one of the first intelligent ZNE houses that are fully integrated with the future smart-grid. The unique autonomous, life-mimicking design brings the already stringent living building challenge to the next level. We’ll explore to what percentage a commercially viable house can be manufactured with 3D printers by experimenting with interior, exterior components as well as furniture. CDS is also an energy efficiency technology test bed for the latest research results in architecture, energy efficiency and artificial intelligence.

zotwattThe CalPlug ZotWatt team has been selected to compete in the 2014 Max Tech & Beyond Design Competition for ultra-low-energy-use appliances and equipment, which is managed by the Efficiency Standards Group (EES) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and funded through the DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO).

The ZottWatt team aims to decrease the overall power consumption of the home entertainment system by changing the power states of the peripheral devices by adapting to predicted user behavior patterns and using innovative sensor technology. Current best on the market technologies focus on timers or motion sensors that require user input. The ZotWatt project aims to reduce energy consumption by supplying power to devices based on learned and predicted user behavior and by powering off devices based on sensor inputs. It also has the option of taking in user input to tailor the device towards user wants and needs. The Zotwatt project will be compatible with existing home entertainment systems (TVs, set-top-boxes, DVD players, audio devices, and game consoles). In the future, the device features can become built-in features of home entertainment systems since they all have time functions, IR receivers, and other sensors that we are implementing externally. Overall, the ZotWatt team hopes to provide an excellent energy saving solution for existing home entertainment systems.

More information can also be found at the following link:

Team Members:
Carlotta Pham, Cesar Becerril, Linyi Xia, Omar Shanta, Jamie Lee, Shawn Wang, Angelo Paredes, Tyler Stevens

network-plug-energy-workshopThis three session workshop heralds CalPlug’s next phase in plug load energy management research and development. Over ten panelists and fifty participants effectively represented thought leaders from start-ups, electronics manufacturers, utilities, institutions, and energy policy makers. CalPlug reported encouraging progress on the set-top box energy efficiency solution–5W5s, while embarking on the new task with partners.

More information about CalPlug’s latest Workshop can also be found at the following link: CalPlug Workshop Series: November 5, 2013

In early March 2013, over 60 members of the Association of American Universities attended an event at UCI. These university presidents and chancellors were able to tour the CalPlug facilities and see project demonstrations from CalPlug’s student researchers.

The event started off with a reception in the Calit2 atrium. Tours of eHealth, CalPlug and the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling immediately followed. VCR Hemminger introduced Chancellor Drake, as well as short introductions for Dean Hal Stern, GP Li, Jay Famiglietti, Kathy Eller, Kate Kilmow and Sophia An. The event was then concluded after dinner was served.