CBS Newsletter
Summer 1996
pg. 1

The Center's Web Works

The Center's interactive Home Energy Saver Web project offers powerful but user-friendly ways for residential consumers to estimate how much energy their homes use and how much they can save by applying specific energy-efficiency measures. This web-based tool also directs users to related Web sites with supporting information, such as product lists, utility residential DSM programs, and on-line publications. The site is being developed in support of the EPA/DOE residential ENERGY STAR programs.

The global Internet has quickly become the number-one source of information on energy efficiency. Although the Internet has been used since the 1960s by a relatively small number of government and academic institutions, recent developments in networking technology and software have attracted some 50 million users, including energy-related groups such as utilities, buildings professionals, and a wide variety of private companies. About 10 million computers are now connected to the Internet.

The Internet's World Wide Web represents a particularly important innovation by offering access to text-based information, searchable databases, photographs, sound recordings, and video images. For energy professionals, the Web is more than a place to post one's favorite paper-based reports; it's a venue for one-on-one as well as group communications, tracking down detailed energy data, acquiring software, running dynamic on-line calculations, and even collecting energy data from remote sites.

The following are some Web-based activities underway in the Center. (All are available to those who visit our site, currently 7,000 each week.)

Text and Graphical Information
We have identified about 400 Web sites related to energy efficiency and indoor environment. These span a vast array of resources: government programs and research activities around the world, raw data on energy use and markets for energy-efficient products, vendors of energy-efficient technologies and services, nongovernmental organizations, university-based activities, on-line publications, weather data resources, and a host of discussion groups. In "Energy Crossroads"), we have organized pointers to these Web sites into a master index.
We are also establishing a database of energy-efficiency imagery, publishing the quarterly Center for Building Science News and Fenestration R&D Newsletter, and posting our publications lists and some full-length reports. The Center's Web site features an extensive section on the High-Radon Project, with numerous detailed maps presenting results on indoor radon concentrations at the county level. Information on the Applications Team and our projects with the Federal Energy Management Program are described at the site, as is the Native American Renewable Energy Education Project being conducted by UC Berkeley and the Center. Linked to the Center's main page are the Web pages of each of its programs (Building Technologies, Energy Analysis, and Indoor Environment).
Document and Software Retrieval
From the Center's site, visitors can download the Radiance and Superlite software as well as a large library of performance data on 600 window products; users of the LBNL WINDOW software (also downloadable from the Web site) can use this data in their calculations.
Interactivity and On-line Tools
The Center is developing an innovative, Internet-based tool for residential energy analysis that has several advantages over traditional disk-based software. This tool, the "Home Energy Saver," calculates residential building's energy use based on default values or detailed assumptions specified by the user. Within the tool's interface, links to lists of energy-efficient appliances, utility DSM programs, and vendors of energy-efficient software and products make the tool's interface unlike any traditional disk-based product. Another advantage is that users of any Web browser can access the tool regardless of platform (such as Mac or PC).
Remote Monitoring and Diagnostics
The Internet has the potential to become an enormous energy management and control system. Center researchers have initiated a project that uses the Internet to gather building energy performance data in real time from sensors located in a building. The work's potential future directions include actually operating a building by sending instructions over the Internet. Data, as well as audio and video information, can be collected in real time by an energy engineer in a remote location.

—Evan Mills and Sam Webster

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Evan Mills
Center for Building Science
(510) 486-6784; (510) 486-5394 fax

This research is supported by:

U.S. Department of Energy
Energy Research Computing Sciences
Federal Energy Management Program
In-House Energy Management Program
Office of Building Technologies and State and Community Programs
Office of Energy Research
Office of Health & Environmental Research
Office of Scientific Computing
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Division
Office of Radiation and Indoor Air
General Services Agency
LBNL's Lab-Directed Research and Development Funds

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