A study towards applying thermal inertia for energy conservation in rooms

Yi Yuan, Dawei Pan, Dan Wang, Xiaohua Xu, Yu Peng, Xiyuan Peng, Peng Jun Wan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We are in an age where people are paying increasing attention to energy conservation around the world. The heating and air-conditioning systems of buildings introduce one of the largest chunks of energy expenses. In this article, we make a key observation that after a meeting or a class ends in a room, the indoor temperature will not immediately increase to the outdoor temperature. We call this phenomenon thermal inertia. Thus, if we arrange subsequent meetings in the same room rather than in a room that has not been used for some time, we can take advantage of such undissipated cool or heated air and conserve energy. Though many existing energy conservation solutions for buildings can intelligently turn off facilities when people are absent, we believe that understanding thermal inertia can lead system designs to go beyond on-and-off-based solutions to a wider realm. We propose a framework for exploring thermal inertia in room management. Our framework contains two components. (1) The energy-temperature correlation model captures the relation between indoor temperature change and energy consumption. (2) The energy-aware scheduling algorithms: given information for the relation between energy and temperature change, energy-aware scheduling algorithms arrange meetings not only based on common restrictions, such as meeting time and room capacity requirement, but also energy consumptions. We identify the interface between these components so further works towards same on direction can make efforts on individual components. We develop a system to verify our framework. First, it has a wireless sensor network to collect indoor, outdoor temperature and electricity expenses of the heating or air-conditioning devices. Second, we build an energy-temperature correlation model for the energy expenses and the corresponding room temperature. Third, we develop room scheduling algorithms. In detail, we first extend the current sensor hardware so that it can record the electricity expenses in re-heating or re-cooling a room. As t
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • Energy conservation
  • Room management
  • Thermal inertia
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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