Most buildings more than 20 years old are energy “hogs.” They take a lot of energy to heat in the winter, and they take a lot of energy to cool in the summer. The benefits of saving energy in buildings are enormous:

• Commercial and residential buildings consume more than 40% of total energy usage in the US, greater than either the transportation or the industrial sector, and this proportion is expected to increase.

• Buildings contribute 45% of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to global climate change.

• A 50% reduction in U.S. building energy consumption would be equivalent to taking every passenger vehicle and small truck in the United States off the road.

• A 70% reduction in U.S. building energy consumption is equivalent to eliminating the entire energy consumption of the United States transportation sector.

Research is now taking place to make buildings more energy efficient. The answer lies in the mathematics of control and system theory. The results of this research will no doubt lead to better designs of new buildings as well.

The HVAC system of a large building is very complex. The key step is to model this complex system. Heat losses and gains, from the sun, from the heated or cooled air supplies, and from occupants moving through the building, can all be modeled. Sensors and actuators are placed throughout the HVAC system. With a mathematical model in hand, one can start performing control and optimization.

From June 11-14, 2013, the IMA is offering a Hot Topics Workshop “Mathematical and Computational Challenges in the Control, Optimization, and Design of Energy-Efficient Buildings.” The workshop will present the state of the art in the mathematical and computational aspects that arise in energy-efficient building design. It will also provide participants with the opportunity to share ideas, foster collaboration, and gain a deeper understanding of the problems and challenges of managing and designing energy-efficient buildings and the progress made so far.

The intended audience for the workshop includes mathematicians, scientists, and engineers interested in the latest developments and challenges in the mathematical and computational sciences for design, optimization, and control of energy-efficient buildings. The workshop will feature a combination of both research talks and tutorials presented by practitioners of diverse disciplines from industry, government, and academia.

Applications are still being accepted. To view the full description of the workshop and apply on line, click here.

Submitted by the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)