Harnessing the Power of Big Data
to Fuel Energy Conservation
U.S. Office of Naval Research
The Department of Defense (DOD) has a vested interest in reducing energy consumption. Fuel convoys increase exposure to combat, putting military personnel at greater risk: One out of every eight casualties in Iraq between 2003 and 2007 occurred during fuel deliveries. Adding to the grave loss of life, energy accounts for significant operational costs making the DOD the largest consumer of energy in the world.
Under contract by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), MKThink is the principal investigator for REACHE – Renewable Energy Architecture for Cultural and Human Environments. REACHE is a multiphase initiative aimed at developing strategies and technologies for energy conservation.
Since the launch of REACHE in 2010, MKThink has engineered sensor kits and developed 4Daptive, a patented database management system and predictive modeling tool, that aid in reducing operational energy use through data-driven multidimensional strategies.
The tools developed for REACHE are delivering intelligence to conserve energy, minimize environmental impact, streamline facility operations, and improve human wellness, and organizational performance. The potential applications extend well beyond the military to schools, factories, airports, workplaces, and any other built environment.
MKThink developed the working hypothesis that understanding the relationships between Assets, Environmental, and Cultural factors (AEC) can improve operational planning strategies, energy efficiency, and organizational performance. Formative research validated the logic and established an analytic framework and key performance indicators to guide further investigation.
Assets: Architecture and technology and all manmade structures
Environment: Climate conditions and natural resources (energy, water)
Culture: Human behaviors and characteristics of individuals and groups and their impact on a site
MKThink engineered a prototype sensor kit to collect the data to measure key performance indicators. A corresponding database (4Daptive) and predictive modeling tool were developed to analyze the data and generate intervention strategies informed by AEC relationships.
The project team field-tested the sensor kit and analytic tool at a forward operating base in the Philippines and a fixed facility in Hawaii. Intervention strategies realized a 90% reduction in ECU-driven energy use.
MKThink evolved the design of the sensor kit to be easy and quick-to-deploy by the non-technical user. This allows for installation at scale, addressing the need for larger datasets to inform more effective recommendations.
The kit features sensors that collect data on energy consumption, air and water quality, acoustics, thermal comfort, and utilization to correlate relationships between architectural (A) and environmental (E) factors.
MKThink advanced the sensor kit to include a camera that pairs with Computer Vision software to enable collection of unstructured (video, text, image, audio, and handwriting) architectural (A) and cultural (C) data critical to capture the qualitative factors that impact energy use. A custom housing unit consolidates all components to streamline deployment.
MKThink equipped the 4Daptive Analytic Tool with advanced analytics and cognitive computing capabilities so that it can integrate, and process both unstructured and structured data and recommend decisions based on user priorities—revenue, resource use, and user satisfaction. Machine learning continues to improve the tool’s algorithms to generate evermore accurate and viable solutions.
Experiment Design, Data Collection,
Data Analysis, Data Management,
Philippines and Statewide, Hawaii
2011 – Present
U.S. Office of Naval Research