BuildSense: accurate, cost-aware, fault-tolerant monitoring with minimal sensor infrastructure

Rachel Cardell-Oliver, Chayan Sarkar

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Buildings can achieve energy-efficiency by using solar passive design, energy-efficient structures and materials, or by optimizing their operational energy use. In each of these areas, efficiency can be improved if the physical properties of the building along with its dynamic behavior can be captured using low-cost embedded sensor devices. This opens up a new challenge of installing and maintaining the sensor devices for different types of buildings. In this article, we propose BuildSense, a sensing framework for fine-grained, long-term monitoring of buildings using a mix of physical and virtual sensors. It not only reduces the deployment and management cost of sensors but can also guarantee accurate and fault-tolerant data coverage for long-term use. We evaluate BuildSense using sensor measurements from two rammed-earth houses that were custom-designed for a challenging hot-arid climate so almost no artificial heating or cooling is required. We demonstrate that BuildSense can significantly reduce the cost of permanent physical sensors while still achieving fit-for-purpose accuracy, fault-tolerance, and stability. Overall, we were able to reduce the cost of a building sensor network by 60% to 80% by replacing physical sensors with virtual ones while still maintaining accuracy of ≤1.0°C and fault-tolerance of two or more predictors per virtual sensor.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA36
Number of pages23
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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