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Low-Cost Wireless Sensors for Building Monitoring Applications

Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Oak Ridge, TN
DOE Funding: $1,450,000
Cost Share: N/A
Project Term: Oct. 2013 - Sept. 2015

Project Objective

Sensors and controls have the demonstrated potential to reduce building energy consumption by 20%–30%. However, these savings can only be realized when the retrofit solutions have a payback of 1-2 years. Current commercially available wireless sensors, which can cost $150–$300 per node, do not reach that target, which is critical to market adoption. This project aims to drive down the cost of sensors by improving the technology—specifically, through the use of advanced manufacturing techniques, including printable electronics and additive roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques. These techniques have the potential to generate fully printable wireless sensors with costs around $1–3 per node. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is talking with potential industrial partners about how to incorporate low-cost sensors into their business strategy.

Project Impact

ORNL estimates that advanced sensors and controls have the potential to save 20-30% energy consumed by buildings. The target market for this project is all commercial buildings; the audience includes building retrofit solution providers and sensor and equipment manufacturers. The technology is also applicable to several other sectors, such as vehicles, industrial, and health.


DOE Technology Manager: Joseph Hagerman
Lead Performer: Teja Kuruganti, Oak Ridge National Lab

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