We are a group of interdisciplinary researchers at Northeastern University trying to understand how “flexible” homes can be to balance the demands of the grid while continuing to provide comfortable spaces for occupants.
Project Team Leaders
Dr. Michael Kane is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. He is an expert in control and human factors of Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs). He leads the Automation for the Built and Living Environment (ABLE) lab equipped to design and fabricate wireless sensing, control, and GEB interface devices. He is a member of ASCE, IEEE, and IEA Annex 79 on Occupant Centric Buildings.
David Fannon holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. He is an expert in human comfort assessment and is co-PI on RHONDA a web-based tool which helps homeowners assess the resilience and sustainability of their home and translates applicable research to a lay audience, highly relevant to the widespread user base proposed here.
Dr. Misha Pavel holds a joint appointment as a Professors of Practice in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. He is one of the early protagonists of dynamical and hybrid modeling of behaviors. He has extensive experience in human factors testing in his heavily instrumented 600 s.f mock apartment, NUHome, and translating lab tests into long-term user-centric in-home field tests.
Postdoctoral Research Associate Liz Allen is based at the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on human behavior and decision-making for energy and natural resource management. Her previous work, funded by NSF and USDA, utilized stakeholder interviews and focus groups to understand how climate change impacts models can be co-developed with end users to maximize their relevance for policy design and land use management. Dr. Allen earned a PhD in Environmental Science from Washington State University in 2016.
Graduate Student Researchers
Graduate student researcher Kunind Sharma is a PhD Candidate in Interdisciplinary Engineering at Northeastern University. He has worked under Professor Kane in the ABLE lab to research human-in-the-loop control of civil infrastructure. He has strong foundational knowledge in the areas of engineering economics, basic mechanics, control systems, thermodynamics, material science, manufacturing processes, and energy conversion. Kunind earned a Master of Science in Energy Systems from Northeastern University in 2019 and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mississippi in 2017.
Graduate student researcher Emma Casavant is an Interdisciplinary Engineering PhD Student at Northeastern University working under Professor Kane in the ABLE lab. Her research focuses on thermal comfort and occupant behavior dynamics. In addition to her studies of occupant-centric building design, she has studied passive design strategies, high performance building envelopes, systems integration, and whole-building life-cycle analysis. Emma earned a Master of Science in Sustainable Building Systems from Northeastern University in 2020 and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 2018.
Graduate student researcher Maharshi Pathak is an Interdisciplinary Engineering PhD Student at Northeastern University. He currently works under Professor Kane in the ABLE lab to research human-in-the-loop control of civil infrastructure. Prior to joining Northeastern, he worked as a Research Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where he worked on developing technologies for civil energy infrastructure, primarily in the area of building energy performance and energy efficiency, resource planning, distributed energy generation, and grid-intractability potential. Maharshi earned a Master of Science in Built Environment – Energy Performance and Climate Responsive Architecture from Arizona State University in 2017 where he pursued novel ways of incorporating machine learning algorithms for defining building prototypes for urban-scale building energy analysis.
Graduate student researcher Krissy Govertsen is a PhD Candidate in Interdisciplinary Engineering and a Master Candidate for Sustainable Building Systems at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on identifying thermal characteristics of homes using smart thermostat data. Her goal is to scale this method to identify communities vulnerable to extreme temperature related weather events by clustering these thermal characteristics with property assessment data. Krissy earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with concentrations in Architectural Engineering, Structural Engineering and Construction Engineering Management from Clarkson University in 2018.