The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) awarded nearly $2 million to Georgia Tech to develop better simulation models for predicting building efficiency. The research team is led by associate professor Fried Augenbroe with colleagues Christiaan Paredis, John Peponis and C. F. Jeff Wu, also of Georgia Tech, and Ali Malkawi of the University of Pennsylvania. The project, “Risk Conscious Design and Retrofit of Buildings for Low Energy” will involve collecting performance data from 240 buildings of different ages, designs and environmental characteristics to develop theory and models that consider uncertainty in energy performance. Ultimately, uncertainty analysis and risk assessment may allow better decisions about new designs and retrofits aimed at reducing energy needs.
The award was one of 14 grants for fiscal year 2010 to pursue transformative, fundamental research in two areas of great national need: storing energy from renewable sources; and engineering sustainable buildings.
"These awards are significant in the extent to which the research teams are multidisciplinary," said lead EFRI program officer Richard Fragaszy. "Engineers, architects and physical and social scientists are pooling their expertise to conduct the basic research needed to design and construct future homes and offices that will greatly reduce reliance on fossil fuels and demand for potable water, while improving the health and productivity of their occupants.
EFRI, established by the NSF Directorate for Engineering in 2007, seeks high-risk interdisciplinary research that has the potential to transform engineering and other fields. The grants demonstrate the EFRI goal to inspire and enable researchers to expand the limits of our knowledge.