Environmentally Opportunistic Computing

In an effort to study and mitigate energy consumed by the building sector, our cross-disciplinary research team has developed Environmentally Opportunistic Computing (EOC), a pioneering renewable energy technology that uses the energy burdens of one sector – high performance computing – to offset the burdens of another, high energy-use sector: building operation. EOC is our approach to harvesting the energy produced by computer hardware (traditionally housed in large, remote, and consolidated data centers) to heat buildings. We seek to shift the paradigm of energy use by buildings and computational equipment from an energy challenge to an energy opportunity, using the heat generated by computational equipment as a useful resource and not – as it is currently treated – an unwanted (and environmentally burdensome) byproduct. This approach has the potential to increase energy conservation and efficiency in a substantial and measurable way while transforming sustainable computing and sustainable building practices.

Publications, Presentations & Products

  • Woodruff, J. Zachary, Paul R Brenner, Aimee P. C. Buccellato, and David B. Go. 2014. “Environmentally Opportunistic Computing: A Distributed Waste Heat Reutilization Approach to Energy-Efficient Buildings and Data Centers.” Journal of Energy and Buildings 69 (February): 41–50.
    View Article pdf
  • 2012
  • Brenner, Paul R, Douglas Thain, Aimee P. C. Buccellato, and David B. Go. 2012. “Environmentally Opportunistic Computing: Toward Sustainable Enterprise and HPC Data Centers.” In Handbook of Energy-Aware and Green Computing, edited by I. Ahmad and S. Ranka. Chapman and Hall.
    View Book Chapter pdf
  • Invited Tour and Presentation: “The Green Cloud Project at the South Bend Botanical Garden and Conservatory.” September 29, 2012. Community Energy Day during the 6th Annual Notre Dame Energy Week sponsored by The City of South Bend and the Center for Sustainable Energy Notre Dame (cSEND).
  • 2011
  • Buccellato, Aimee P. C., Paul R. Brenner, and David B. Go. August 4-7, 2011. “Computation as Catalyst for Sustainable Design: Environmental Stewardship through Interdisciplinary Research and Design.” Proceedings of the 2011 Building Technology Educators Society (BTES) Conference: Convergence + Confluence. Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.
    View Article pdf
  • Buccellato, Aimee P. C., Paul Brenner, David. B. Go, Ryan Jansen, Eric M. Ward, Jr. January 29 - February 3, 2011. “Environmentally Opportunistic Computing: Computation as Catalyst for Sustainable Design.” Proceedings of the 2011 Winter Conference of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE): Net Zero Design. Las Vegas, Nevada.: ASHRAE Press.
    View Article pdf

EOC-related Grant Activity

Submitted, not awarded

  • Harvesting Data Center Waste Heat for Other-purposed Buildings
    Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy – U. S. Department of Energy
    PI: D. Go (AME); Co-PI: A. Buccellato (ARCH); M. Lemmon (EE); P. Brenner (CRC)
  • The Green Cloud: A Novel Platform for Educating Students and the Community about Innovative Pathways to Energy Conservation
    American Honda Foundation
    PI: A. Buccellato; Co-PI: D. Go (AME); P. Brenner (CRC); Center for Sustainable Energy – ND (CSEND)
    ND limited submission
    View Proposal pdf
  • Harvesting Waste Heat from Computers for Sustainable Buildings
    National Science Foundation: CBET – Environmental Sustainability
    PI: D. Go (AME); Co-PI: A. Buccellato; P. Brenner (CRC)
    View Proposal pdf
  • Toward a Sustainable Ecosystem: Harvesting Waste Heat from Distributed Data Centers for Other-Purposed Buildings
    HP Labs Innovation in Research Program
    PI: D. Go (AME); Co-PI: A. Buccellato; P. Brenner (CRC)
    View Proposal pdf
  • 2011
  • The University of Notre Dame – The Green Cloud Project
    Wells Fargo National Environmental Grant Program
    PI: D. Go (AME); Co-PI: A. Buccellato; P. Brenner (CRC)
    ND limited submission
    View Proposal pdf
  • GOALI – Sustainable Advances in Cyber-infrastructure via Environmentally Opportunistic Computing
    National Science Foundation: CBET – Environmental Sustainability
    PI: P. Brenner (CRC); Co-PI: D. Go (AME); A. Buccellato; Gary Gilot (City of South Bend)
    View Proposal pdf
  • 2009
  • Building-Integrated Information Technology: A Unified Engineering and Architectural Framework for Sustainable Design
    National Science Foundation: EFRI-SEED Research Projects
    PI: A. Buccellato
    PI: D. Go (AME); Co-PI: M. Lemmon (EE); P. Brenner (CRC); A. Buccellato
    Views Proposal pdf

EOC-related Courses

  • Design VI/ ARCH 41121 Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio Collaborative Studio
    R. Smith, University of Utah Integrated Technology and ArchitectureCenter
    Notre Dame Departments of Biological Sciences and Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
    Environmental Change Initiative, ND
    St. Patrick’s County Park

EOC-related Undergraduate Research / Advising

  • Bangs, J., Bujnowski, J., Esteban, W., GalloMcCausland, C., Mosco, K., Paietta, G., Paolucci, A., Possley, E., Slaski, E., Tiffin, C., Yatco, J. “Advancing Sustainable Design Through Interdisciplinary Research”, General Oral Session and Exhibition of Work, 4th Annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference. University of Notre Dame Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement. May 2011.
  • Barnes, G., Costanzo, A., Fotch, A., Mirolli, S., Murphy, D., Murphy, J., Santeramo, S., Ruiz, K., Veenstra, K. “Sustainable Design through Interdisciplinary Research: Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility at St. Patrick’s County Park.” Exhibition of work, 5th Annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference. University of Notre Dame Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement. May, 2012.
@ A Glance
See All

Paul R. Brenner

Assoc. Director, Center for Research Computing

David B. Go

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Affiliated Orgs
Recent notables

Interview KCBS 106.9 San Francisco

The Economist pdf