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Why New Daedalus?

Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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« Architectural Principals of Transactive Energy | Profiles for the Economic Actors in Distributed Energy »

The Human Side of Energy Micromarkets

This post is part of the continuing Paths to Transactive Energy series. You can find them all listed by clicking on the matching metatag at the bottom of each post.

The Human Beings must have a say, or any model for transactive energy is doomed to failure. No model based on satisfying The Computers or The Grid will acheive prominence in the market. If optional, people will opt out. If mandatory, people will work around. The market is not a model for decision making, it is a pattern for interactions. In the abstract, semiotics does not determine meaning, only how meaning is conveyed. The interaction patterns do not determine the value of energy used at a particular place and time, they only determine how it is negotiated and conveyed.

Decision making must be local, driven by internal needs. Those decisions take place in the context of a larger market, but the larger market is not determinative of particular actions. People, whether at home or at work, will participate to the extent that it enhances their own satisfaction in some way, and transactive energy is, and must be, thoroughly agnostic about which layer of the Maslovian cake is driving decisions.

The occupants of the house, or of the business facility, determine the values of those systems that they use and how they negotiate. No one outside the house can know whether that spare refrigerator is deep storage or beer refrigerator, and if this weekend’s party makes the beer refrigerator and the ice-maker priority uses. (Note that I am not discussing the human interface that might make it useful or desirable to interact with the priorities of these systems—because these interfaces are outside the scope of transactive energy).

One system keeps things cool, within a range determined by biological safety or by personal preference, with limited flexibility over time of operation. One manages ice production, a pre-consumer that wants to acquire when power is cheap. Those two agents may have the same locus of interaction, let’s call it an IP address. They may be expressions of a single control system, of no open standard. They may not choose to share any temperature information with the EMS/BMS. The EMS/BMS does not care what protocols are used inside the refrigerator. In a similar way, a BACnet network with 5 AHUs may choose to represent itself as any number of agents (likely 1-5, but ventilation may come to market as a separate service than cooling) but not as a collection of BACnet points.

Transactive integration is the way to solve the problem of diversity of systems in the home. Developers of small microgrids aim to waste no energy, but struggle to develop drivers for every system. Energy device drivers for every CPAP? Every stereo system and television? Plate warming drawers? Expresso machines? In my home, the biggest energy user might be my well. The diversity of home systems is daunting. Each of them is valued for the service it provides, but each can have an economic profile, a meta-model, a prototypical pattern for its energy use.

This simplicity and abstraction is a benefit for the maker of the system or device as well as of the EMS/BMS. The owner can look at a device profile in a store or on-line and can say “yes, that is the way this device uses/stores/generates energy”. We can imagine heuristics, such as “you need some more pre-consumption devices to smooth your load.” The economic actor profiles become a way to discuss the systems as well as how they will interact when sharing resources.

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