Design and Development of an Integrated Workstation Automation Hub:
Miscellaneous Electronic Loads (MELs) account for one third of all electricity consumption in U.S. commercial buildings, and are drivers for a significant energy use in India. Many of the MEL-specific plug-load devices are concentrated at workstations in offices. The use of intelligence, and integrated controls and communications at the workstation for an Office Automation Hub – offers the opportunity to improve both energy efficiency and occupant comfort, along with services for Smart Grid operations. Software and hardware solutions are available from a wide array of vendors for the different components, but an integrated system with interoperable communications is yet to be developed and deployed. In this study, we propose system- and component-level specifications for the Office Automation Hub, their functions, and a prioritized list for the design of a proof-of-concept system. Leveraging the strength of both the U.S. and India technology sectors, this specification serves as a guide for researchers and industry in both countries to support the development, testing, and evaluation of a prototype product. Further evaluation of such integrated technologies for performance and cost is necessary to identify the potential to reduce energy consumptions in MELs and to improve occupant comfort.