Brian Woo-Shem

Mechanical engineer, tech wizard, cartoonist, writer, creator of things.

Research

Smart grid with a diverse neighborhood of homes

For my graduate degree, I conducted research to improve energy efficiency & energy equity for residential buildings in a smart grid, in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Mechanical Engineering Department at Santa Clara University.

Major Accomplishments

  1. Improving HVAC control to reduce energy consumption by up to 50% without replacing expensive equipment.
    • Program & validate advanced HVAC control that responds to outdoor temperature and building occupancy to save energy.
    • Development of a dynamic electricity tariff based on wholesale electric prices to reward consumers for using electricity when demand is relatively low compared to energy supply. This helps the grid better utilize intermittent renewable energy sources and can prevent electricity shortages.
    • Creation of a machine learning regression model to predict future electricity consumption of a building based on time of day and weather forecasts.
    • Optimize appliance operation times to reduce costs under dynamic electricity tariffs while still maintaining user comfort.
  2. Developing a framework to model & analyze the effects of new electricity pricing plans on different population groups.
    • Developed simulation framework and code architecture to automate simulations of hundreds of grid-interactive houses.
    • Analyzed the effects of proposed electricity tariffs on households of different income levels.
    • Investigated and compared metrics for evaluating the fairness of a new electricity pricing plan relative to the income level of different residential customers.
    • Developed EnergyPlus MultiLaunch application and GUI to automatically run large quantities of EnergyPlus models in parallel.

Programming & Computer Skills

  • Python: Automation scripts (os, subprocess), Data processing (NumPy, pandas), visualizations (Matplotlib, seaborn, Bokeh), machine learning (scikit-learn), optimization (CVXOPT, CVXPY), web parsing (Beautiful Soup), GUI development (tkinter)
  • MATLAB: Data processing and visualization.
  • Java: implemented appliance controls, socket networking
  • Virtual Machines: VirtualBox, Networking between Linux and Windows
  • GitHub: Code management, documentation, publishing source code
  • Linux operating systems

Publications

B. Woo-Shem, K. Pattawi, H. Covington, P. McCurdy, C. Wang, T. Roth, C. Nguyen, Y. Liu, and H. Lee, “Comparing economic benefits of HVAC control strategies in grid-interactive residential buildings.” Energy and Buildings. 2023; 286, 112937. DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.

H. Covington, B. Woo-Shem, C. Wang, T. Roth, C. Nguyen, and H. Lee, “Stochastic Method for Generating Residential Household Energy Models of Varying Income Level and Climate Zone for Testing Energy Fairness.” ASME. J. Eng. Sustain. Bldgs. Cities. February 2024; 5(1): 011001. DOI: 10.1115/1.4063592.

H. Covington, B. Woo-Shem, C. Wang, T. Roth, C. Nguyen, Y. Liu, Y. Fang, H. Lee, “Method for Evaluating Fairness of Electricity Tariffs with Regard to Income Level of Residential Buildings.” Applied Energy. January 2024; 353B, 122130. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2023.122130. Full text here.

H. Covington, B. Woo-Shem, C. Wang, T. Roth, C. Nguyen, and H. Lee, “Stochastic Method for Generating Residential Household Energy Models Of Varying Income Level And Climate Zone For Testing Energy Fairness.” ASME 17th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, 2023 (In Press)

Source Code

See the SCU Smart Grid Research Team GitHub˺

Joining the Project

If you are an engineering student (undergrad, M.S., or Ph.D.) interested in joining this project and continuing my work, you may reach out to my advisor, Dr. Hohyun Lee˺, Professor & Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Santa Clara University. As of November 2023, the project has an opening for a qualified student and has grants from NIST and the NSF˺.

© 2024 Brian Woo-Shem

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