Help:Hackathon Ideas

From Open Energy Information

Ideas from the DOE Building Technologies Program, Cody T

  1. Idea: create a public database of building characteristics and energy usage data that can be available to researchers and businesses to use to devise innovative solutions. If it is easy to contribute to and query-able by third party tools through some kind of API, it could quickly grow to be very useful. This could be built on the core of the SEED Platform (see below). Could perhaps let people contribute Green Button data and add other types of relevant data about their buildings. Background: We're creating a national Buildings Performance Database (BPD - see attached fact sheet) that is a repository of data on building characteristics and energy usage data that can be used by professionals in the banking, utilities, and building management industries to evaluate the energy savings from installing particular energy-saving equipment in particular types of buildings. This can help to facilitate investment in energy efficiency. The BPD is currently in a closed beta and we're trying to substantially grow the dataset from around 50,000 buildings today. A crowd-sourced public database of building characteristics and energy usage data could be a great way to help supplement this. There are lots of interesting problems to solve in this area. E.g. figuring out a way to do this that lets people contribute near-real-time data associated with their address if they want to, but protects from people knowing when someone's away on vacation by e.g. defaulting a one-month delay on data release.
  2. Idea: accelerate development of Standard Energy Efficiency Data SEED Platform, currently in beta, to help cities around the US who are starting to use this software to manage and publish building energy performance data. I know several cities whose energy staff would be thrilled if the SEED application was suddenly easier, more powerful, and more intuitive to use. Background: the SEED Platform is an open-source web-based database developed by DOE to assist state and local governments in managing building energy performance data. It can be easily installed on Amazon EC2, and includes a MySQL database built on the same data taxonomy as BPD. We are in-between development phases right now and could use student teams' help to rapidly execute several of our development tasks that cities are asking for to use the software. They want this right now to help manage their data (SF and Berkeley are both among those who have expressed interest, though neither has begun using it yet). Seattle, Austin, DC, NYC, and others have also been working with us to tell us their needs, which include:
    1. Building an API to help cities publish data in a standardized format and allow 3rd parties to easily access the data.
    2. create and improve data import options
    3. implement historical versioning of data to support multiple years
    4. build support for real-time data analysis and editing through the web interface
    5. etc…
  3. Idea: open challenge: start with the Standard Energy Efficiency Data SEED Platform, currently in beta, and build something really cool on top of it. Background: the SEED Platform is meant to become an open-source foundation upon which people can build various tools for building energy data input, management, analysis, and sharing. We think the big play here is in moving to one national standard approach to storing building characteristics and energy usage data that will enable data sharing and innovation by having many similar datasets out there. Students could build and demonstrate tools that either help people manage and analyze their data better, or help them share it more effectively, or help them gather data that's currently hard to gather.
  4. Idea: Starting with the SEED database, build a publicly-accessible and easy-to-contribute-to database for universities to publicize the energy usage and building characteristics of buildings on their campuses. Background: This site could facilitate challenges among universities to disclose their data. Having that data available AND having good analysis tools with it could help them identify opportunities to save energy and money. This could be enhanced by having a mechanism for students to be involved in crowdsourcing some of the information - e.g. smartphones could snap and upload pics of light fixtures, windows, other building equipment. Find good ways to get students into this data collection, and good ways to make the data actually useful (hint: probably something more than dashboards). This would be a more data-driven cousin to but focused on universities, and I'm sure honest buildings would want to pull in the public data to their platform as well.