Inspiration

It gets really hot these days, but as we use our air conditioners, it gets really costly, and after a while, the air-conditioner loses its efficiency. We wanted to find out any alternatives can cool our living space more effectively as a long term solution.

What it does

bushier brows is a b2b visual advisory tool for building owners to identify optimal vertical greenery solutions for energy and cost saving measures through ML visual overlays, and then get a list of recommended vendors based on the cost and area of overlay. Use bushier to capture / upload building profiles to our ML models, to obtain optimal overlay of vertical greenery, potential energy and cost savings.

How we built it

  • Frontend: Flutter
  • Database/Server: Firebase
  • AI Model: Tensorflow

We built a segmentation model (HRnet + OCR head) trained on various building facade datasets. Then, used IMU, location data, and web-scrapped data to predict build temperature, incident radiation, vertical garden placement, temperature reduction, energy and cost savings.

Data is scrapped mainly from NASA Prediction Of Worldwide Energy Resources, which provides global solar and meteorological datasets from NASA research for support of renewable energy.

We used multiple ways to predict building profile area, used Firebase to store and retrieve the data of recommended vendors.

Challenges we ran into

It is our first foray into many of Google's tech stack (Flutter, Firebase etc). Thus, the initial learning curve was steep as we transitioned from other platforms/languages that we were more familiar with.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Eventually everything worked according to plan! The UI looked better than expected.

What we learned

Many new Google tech stacks which are very useful for development.

The flexibility and versailtiy of the google tech stack allowed us to have an easy time developing this product, and seeing our ideas come to fruition. Of especial importance is the fact that flutter has abstracted difficult widgets into simple lines of code.

What's next for bushier brows

We aim to explore more viable methods to implement our solution such that it's more robust and all-weather. We can also increase our range of dataset for training to build a more robust AI model.

Technical References

1) Yuan. Y, X. Cheng, X. Chen, J. Wang, Segmentation Transformer: Object-Contextual Representations for Semantic Segmentation, ECCV 2020, https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.11065

2) Ke et. al. High-Resolution Representations for Labeling Pixels and Regions, CVPR 2020, https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.04514

3) B. Frohlich, E. Rodner, J. Denzler, A Fast Approach for Pixelwise Labeling of Façade Images, ICPR 2010, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220929012_A_Fast_Approach_for_Pixelwise_Labeling_of_Facade_Images

4) Holm, D. (1989). Thermal improvement by means of leaf cover on external walls — a simulation model. Energy and Buildings, 14(1), 19–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-7788(89)90025-x

5) Canadarma, W. W., Juniwati, A., & Kristanto, L. (2006). Effect Of Orientation On Indoor Temperature Case Study: Yekape Penjaringansari Housing in Surabaya. INTA Conference 2006 - Harmony in Culture and Nature.

6) Pérez, G., Coma, J., Martorell, I., & Cabeza, L. F. (2014). Vertical Greenery Systems (VGS) for energy saving in buildings: A Review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 39, 139–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2014.07.055

7) Pan, J., Tang, J., Caniza, M., Heraud, J.-M., Koay, E., Lee, H. K., Lee, C. K., Li, Y., Ruiz, A. N., Santillan-Salas, C. F., & Marr, L. (2021). Correlating indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity in a sample of buildings in tropical climates. https://doi.org/10.31224/osf.io/6ap5q

8) Wong, N. H., Kwang Tan, A. Y., Chen, Y., Sekar, K., Tan, P. Y., Chan, D., Chiang, K., & Wong, N. C. (2010). Thermal evaluation of vertical greenery systems for building walls. Building and Environment, 45(3), 663–672. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2009.08.005

9) Bekkouche, S., Benouaz, T., Cherier, M., Hamdani, M., Yaiche, M. and Khanniche, R., 2013. Influence of building orientation on internal temperature in saharan climates, building located in Ghardaïa region (Algeria). Thermal Science, 17(2), pp.349-364.

10) Alaboud, M. and Gadi, M., 2020. The Effect of Thermal Insulation on Cooling Load in Residential Buildings in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Future Cities and Environment, 6(1).

11) Holm, D., 1989. Thermal improvement by means of leaf cover on external walls — A simulation model. Energy and Buildings, 14(1), pp.19-30.

12) Alexandri, E. and Jones, P., 2008. Temperature decreases in an urban canyon due to green walls and green roofs in diverse climates. Building and Environment, 43(4), pp.480-493.

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