Smart Sensor Deployment in Buildings: Evacuation Planning and Energy ManagementSafe & Sustainable Infrastructure


The project will instrument two offices buildings and several homes to gather detailed usage data and inform the researchers on peak usage capping, demand response and emergency evacuation. The end product of the research will be a family of algorithms, ontologies and prototypes that will provide better building energy management and building evacuation.


This project will focus on key challenges that arise in the design of smarter and greener environments, including buildings, using a sensor data driven approach. In the proposed work, we will be bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing problems in data collection, representation, dissemination, monitoring and demand-response, with a common theme being a data-driven methodology – we seek to use data obtained from measurements to drive actuation/control, optimization or resource management to address problems for smart environments. Our proposed work spans four inter-related topics:

(i) sensing, measurement and monitoring – especially for building energy efficiency of naturally ventilated buildings,

(ii) knowledge representation in the form of ontologies,
(iii) data dissemination architectures, and
(iv) intelligent algorithms for planning and reactive re-planning.

We plan to illustrate our techniques by examining two major applications: Building Energy Management and building evacuation. The approaches will be showcased in campus buildings belonging to the investigators. In particular, we will instrument several homes and office buildings to drive our proposed work. The facility which has been developed already as part of preliminary work at IITB, will also be available for this project; We have instrumented a complete building (the CSE department’s current building). We have deployed sensors to gather electricity usage data several times a second at various spatial granularities. We will similarly instrument two office buildings as well as several homes. This will allow us to gather detailed usage data from both homes and office environments to drive our proposed research on peak usage capping, demand response, and emergency evacuation. We will also be implementing the Smart Building Evacuation Planning System, which will help building administrators to evacuate people efficiently and systematically during an emergency. Based on the available information about people and threats, and the floor plans of the building, an efficient algorithm will suggest the routes that should be followed by the people during evacuation. This can be conveyed using people’s mobile phones, display boards and other notification mechanisms. The system will also provide a dashboard tool, where the building administrators can track the progress of evacuation in real-time.

The end product of this project will be a family of algorithms, ontologies and prototypes that demonstrate key benefits of our methods. Research papers presenting our results will be published at premier conferences and journals. Sensor datasets from our deployments and source code from our prototypes will be released to researchers for further experimentation. Graduate students will be mentored in both university and industry settings. The broader impacts of our proposed work are many. Our industry collaborators will provide internship opportunities to our students, enabling them to work on practical “hands-on” problems in this area. We plan to offer a WebEx-based seminar course on topics covered by the proposed work to disseminate its results

Project Team

Dr. Mark Fox, University of Toronto
Dr. Krithi Ramamritham, IIT Bombay
Dr. Arindam Pal, TCS Research and Innovation


University of Toronto
IIT Bombay
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