Introduction of Technical Report (Refined)

1  Introduction

In the campus of SIT@Dover, there is a tendency for students to leave the classrooms without switching off the lights. Students have indicated that there might be another class going on later, requiring no necessity to switch them off. In a rush for the next class, students might forget to switch the lights off. Moreover, there are some students who do not even bother about energy conservation (Appendix A).

Based on the team’s observations, there is currently no automated system in place to switch off lights in vacant classrooms (see Appendix B). Although there are areas in the school that are fitted with motion sensors, classrooms are not included. Only standard light switches are installed in these classrooms, requiring users to manually turn off the lights.

The team has also observed 34 classrooms (see Appendix C) in SIT@Dover from 6pm to 10pm throughout the period from 23 October 2017 to 27 October 2017. The number of classrooms whose lights were turned on until 10pm was half the total number observed. Additionally, it was observed that security guards accessed these classrooms and turned the lights off at 10pm. With these observations, the team determined the current implementations for energy conservation were as such, which were counter-effective.

With students developing such energy-wasting behavior, unnecessary costs on manpower and finances are incurred. Hence, there is a need for motion sensing device that could automatically switch off the lights in classrooms.

It was observed that the air-conditioning in SIT@Dover was primarily relying on chiller units. These chiller units function by supplying cool water throughout the building, with fans to blow the air, cooled by the water, out into the classrooms. This system is operated via SIT@Dover’s main controls. For this reason, the team has decided, after much deliberation, to focus on lights only, since the lights are controlled manually in individual classrooms.

Advertisements

Reader’s Response Draft 4

In the article “Duo turn plastic waste into a concrete idea” (Goy, 2016), discusses the green and economical efforts of converting plastic waste to carbon nanotubes with the use of a different catalyst innovated by BlueRen company. Carbon nanotubes are extensively used in batteries and electronics as they are light, strong and can conduct electricity well. Furthermore, they can be used as an additive to enhance the properties of concrete and this can reduce the usage of cement by 30 percent. Unlike common recycling methods, BlueRen’s technology focuses on upcycling which converts waste into products of a higher value. Although carbon nanotubes have many beneficial applications due to its favorable properties, there are some possible negative effects they may have on the environment and even on people.

As the utilization of products and goods containing carbon nanotubes continue to rise in the future, the probability of these tubes entering our environment increases as well. According to the article “Carbon Nanotubes and the Environment” (Phys.org, 2009), scientists from the research center Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) have found that apart from their exceptional properties, carbon nanotubes also have adverse characteristics which show that nanotube production may be dangerous to the environment. Levitt (n.d.) states that carbon nanotubes may leak into the environment via water by forming colloidal solutions (a type of chemical mixture where one substance is dispersed evenly throughout another) if their surface structure is changed. These changes may either take place deliberately during the manufacturing phase or occur due to natural causes after the tubes are leaked into the environment. As colloids in water, carbon nanotubes can be freely carried anywhere in environmental waters.
However, if and how they affect aquatic ecosystems are questions which are still not answered. Heimbuch (2011) mentions that a study conducted by researchers from Empa and the Agroscope Reckenholz-Taenikon (ART) Research Station shows that while carbon nanotubes do not have harmful effects on green algae, they do restrict its growth by depriving the plant of light and space. Still, these effects only happen at concentrations of more than one milligram per liter, which is unlikely to be met presently. But in the future, they may.

Not only do carbon nanotubes affect the environment, it may affect people as well. Due to their ability to penetrate cell walls, carbon nanotubes may cause health risks if inhaled. Scientists noticed that carbon nanotubes look and function like asbestos fibers, which have been proved to cause mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining that can take 30 to 40 years to appear following exposure, according to a study led by the Queen’s Medical Research Institute (Greenemeier, 2008). Asbestos fibers are particularly harmful as they are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs yet too long for the body’s immune system to destroy.

In conclusion, the effects of carbon nanotubes are just being explored. As the use of carbon nanotubes increases in the future, more nanoparticles will be released into the environment and its effects may worsen. Despite the favorable properties of carbon nanotubes and its many beneficial applications, they are not so good for our health and our environment. Therefore, more studies should be conducted on the effects of carbon nanotubes not to keep nanotechnology from advancing further but instead to indicate the dangers of nanotubes, especially at manufacturing sites as it may affect people.

References:

Goy, P. (2016). Duo turn plastic waste into a concrete idea. The Straits Times. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/duo-turn-plastic-waste-into-a-concrete-idea

Heimbuch, J. (2011). Carbon Nanotubes in Environment Affect the Growth of Algae. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/carbon-nanotubes-in-environment-affect-the-growth-of-algae.html

Greenemeier, L. (2008). Study Says Carbon Nanotubes as Dangerous as Asbestos. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carbon-nanotube-danger

Levitt, A. (n.d.). Carbon Nanotubes Dangerous to the Environment. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://thefutureofthings.com/4077-carbon-nanotubes-dangerous-to-the-environment

Carbon nanotubes and the environment. Phys.org. (2009). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://phys.org/news/2009-05-carbon-nanotubes-environment.html

Critical Reflection

At the start of the course, I set a goal for myself to work on my presentation skills and be able to deliver them effectively in terms of speech and content. Right now, as I looked back, I have successfully achieved a part of my objectives as I managed to deliver my points confidently and fluently during my oral presentation. In fact, I exceeded my own expectations as I was able to maintain good eye contact, give natural gestures, maintain a good stance and even managed to crack a joke. However, in terms of my speech, I kind of neglected it and focused a little bit more on my content. I realized it was a mistake and now I know I should not only work on my content but also on my speech during my preparation. I should have projected my voice clearly with more enthusiasm and grab the audience’s’ attention during my presentation. This would improve my presentation and communication skills.

Through this project experience, I learned that teamwork is very vital. I realized that each of my team members has different experiences on projects and report writing and we used what we learned to work on this project. We also have different strengths and skills and we used them to help one another. Through our teamwork, I believed we have produced a good report and gave a good oral presentation. For me, this is probably the best project I have worked on as I learned a lot of different skills. During this process, my teamwork and report writing skills have improved. With all these new and improved skills, I am more confident in writing a report and giving presentations in the future. All in all, my written and oral communication skills have improved throughout this course.

Analytical Reflection on Oral Presentation

I believed this oral presentation was my personal best as I was able to deliver my points confidently and fluently. I was also able to maintain good eye contact and even managed to crack a joke. I learned to overcome my nervousness and was able to give natural gestures and maintain a good stance. I could not do all these in the past but through this course, I learned the ways of how to deliver a good presentation and it really helped me a lot. However, there are also some things that I can improve on. Based on my classmates’ feedback, my delivery can still be improved in terms of my voice and enthusiasm. Well, I could not agree more. I always knew I have the tendency to speak softly with little expression in my tone. However, instead of on working on my weaknesses, I spent most of my preparation improving my script and memorizing it so that I can speak naturally without looking at the slides. I guess I have put too much effort into it and should focus more on learning to project my voice and be more enthusiastic about what I am presenting. Being able to grab the audience’s attention is important during an oral presentation.

Furthermore, another aspect of the oral presentation I believe I need to work on is teamwork. I realized on my part I could help to answer some of the questions that were being asked during Q&A. Instead of letting my teammates answer all of them, I should at least be proactive in answering the questions that I have answers to. I could even build up on my teammates’ answers and further elaborate on them to give a better answer to the audience.

Technical Report – Draft 2

5.4  Evaluation of Proposed Solution

Evaluation involves the installation of the PIR motion sensor in classrooms only. For that, the team has come up with a few projected challenges that SIT@Dover and its students would face.

5.4.1  Cost of Rewiring the Main Electric Circuit

Although PIR sensors are very cheap, the cost of hiring professional electricians to perform the rewiring works is expensive, considering a large number of classrooms. However, the costs can be earned back from the savings incurred over the years of saving electricity by cutting unnecessary wastages.

5.4.2  Disruption of Classes

Electrical works may disrupt certain classes from having their lessons in the particular classrooms where the works may be done. In order to mitigate this, the electrical works may be done either on weekends or after office hours, where there are very few, if not zero, classes going on. Another possible solution is to liaise with the administrative division on the schedule of classes.

5.4.3  Unexpected and Unwanted Switch Off

As supported by the team’s survey, students have opined that the lighting units may switch off in the midst of classes, where there is minimal movement. This may be true only when there are very few students in a classroom. When a classroom is packed with more students, there is a larger tendency for movement to occur within a span of 15 minutes, triggering the motion sensor to keep the lights turned on.

5.4.4  Classrooms Used as Sleeping Areas During Camps

During student orientation camps, classrooms are used as sleeping areas for campers and also act as important rooms (i.e. operations room, logistics room) for the camp committee members. For this reason, lights should remain turned off even if there is movement in the room to prevent campers from waking up due to sudden light exposure. In order for this to happen, a master switch can be fitted into the main electrical circuit as well for each individual classrooms, as shown in Figure 4. This will help deactivate the motion sensor and control the lighting units in accordance to what the user wants. This feature should only be used in such special circumstances, but not on ordinary days.

Figure 4. Circuit diagram of a master switch with PIR sensor.

6  Methodology

This report follows wholly on the information and research gathered using the following methods:

6.1  Obtaining Photographic Evidence in SIT@Dover

Our team, on random days, stayed in school up to 9pm to investigate the different areas of the school, mainly the University Services Centre and Academic Plaza. We then took pictures of the classrooms where lighting units were left turned on. These classrooms would be the places where the PIR motion sensors are installed.

6.2  Identification of Students’ Opinions

A survey was conducted by our team on students’ habits (if they turn off the lights), and their feedback on having motion sensors in classrooms to control the lights was taken into account. The results were then analyzed and used to support the notion that motion sensors in classrooms would help the institute to cut utility costs.

6.2 Research through Online Research

In order to recommend solutions for the institute, the team did online research to find, compare and select the most suitable product. Each of the product was carefully evaluated through a number of considerations and conditions identified by the team.  

7  Conclusion

The proposed solution to energy conservation in SIT@Dover involves installing an automated motion sensor system where PIR sensors can control the utilities of classrooms. This would significantly reduce the institute’s electricity consumption. Although there are limitations to such a system, they are either temporary or easily overcome. Also, the advantages outweigh the limitations in the long term. In retrospect to the institute’s shift to the new Punggol campus, the stipulated date shifting remains unfixed. Thus, it is critical for the institute to minimise energy consumption as much as they can. Therefore, the proposed solution would definitely aid SIT@Dover in advancing toward a more technological and greener environment, where cost-saving and energy conservation serves a win-win situation for both the environment and the institute.

8  References

Agarwal, T. (n.d.). What are motion sensors and how do they work. Elprocus. Retrieved from https://www.elprocus.com/working-of-different-types-of-motion-sensors/

Aggarwal, N. (2017). Exposing students to clean energy technologies and practices. Business Times. Retrieved October 18, 2017, from http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/hub/energy-efficiency-national-partnership/exposing-students-to-clean-energy-technologies-and

Aggarwal, N. (2017). Ministry of Finance leading the way in energy-efficiency practices. Business Times. Retrieved October 18, 2017, from http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/hub/energy-efficiency-national-partnership/ministry-of-finance-leading-the-way-in-energy-efficiency

HowStuffWorks. (n.d.). How do motion sensing lights and burglar alarms work? HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved from: https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/security/question238.htm

Johnson, S. (April 24, 2017). Advantages and disadvantages of infrared detectors. Sciencing. Retrieved from https://sciencing.com/advantages-disadvantages-infrared-detectors-6151444.html

PIR Sensor. (March 11, 2016). Tech.faq. Retrieved from http://www.tech-faq.com/pir-sensor.html

Safewise.com. (n.d.). The Beginner’s Guide to Motion Sensor. Safewise.com. Retrieved from: https://www.safewise.com/resources/motion-sensor-guide

Appendices

Appendix A

Figure 5. Survey question 1

Figure 6. Survey question 2

Figure 7. Survey question 3

Figure 8. Survey question 4

Figure 9. Survey question 5

Appendix C

Week
Task 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Brainstorming
Selection of idea
Survey & Interview
Draft 1
Final draft
Presentation

Technical Report – Draft 1

1  Introduction

Energy conservation in Singapore has been on the rise in recent years. As an open economy with no natural resources, Singapore is vulnerable to rising energy costs that can affect our economic competitiveness. It is crucial that we take steps towards becoming more energy efficient.

In the Dover campus of Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT@Dover), there is a tendency for students to leave the classrooms without switching off the lights. Students have indicated that there might be another class going on later, requiring no necessity to switch them off. In a rush for the next class, students might forget to switch the lights off. Moreover, there are some students who do not even bother about energy conservation.

With students developing such energy-wasting behavior, security guards have to switch off the lights in every classroom after office hours. As a result, unnecessary costs on manpower and finances are incurred. Hence, there is a need for motion sensing device that could automatically switch off the lights in classrooms.

2  Problem Statement

Too frequently at SIT@Dover, students do not turn off the lights in classrooms after using them, which results in energy wastage and an increase in utility expenses. Unless motion sensor devices are installed in these classrooms, the institute will continue to bear unnecessary costs that could be directed to more productive avenues.

3  Purpose Statement

The aim of this report is to recommend the estates division of SIT@Dover to install an automated control system in classrooms. By implementing this system, the university will be able to reduce energy consumption and utility bills expenses.

4  Current Implementation

Based on the team’s observations,  there is currently no automated system in place to switch off lights in vacant classrooms. Although there are areas in school that are fitted with motion sensors, classrooms are not included. Only standard light switches are installed in these classrooms, requiring users to manually turn off the lights.

The team has also done data sampling of 48 classrooms in SIT@Dover after office hours throughout the period from 23 October 2017 to 27 October 2017. The results have shown an alarming number of classrooms, where lights were left switched on when the team patrolled the school compound (Appendix C). The team then compiled the sampling data and determined the average number of classrooms with the lights switched on (Appendix B).

5  Proposed Solution

With the existing implementation in SIT@Dover, the team proposes the use of motion sensors to automatically control the lights in classrooms.

5.1  Using Motion Sensors in Classrooms

The proposed solution would be to install motion sensors, fitted with a timer device, in classrooms so as to regulate the use of lights. The process for installing the sensors is rather simple as only a re-routing of electrical wiring is needed. This will connect the sensor to the main electrical circuit that leads to the lightings. From there, the sensor will automatically turn the lights on whenever someone walks into a classroom. Subsequently, the timer device will countdown for 15 minutes before turning the lights off whenever a classroom are vacant.

5.2  Types of Motion Sensors

Three types of motion sensors were identified, with each utilizing different types of radiation. The advantages and disadvantages of each sensor are listed down.

5.2.1  Passive Infrared (PIR) sensor

The PIR motion sensor uses a pyroelectric sensor to detect infrared (IR) radiation emitted by the human body. The IR radiation received by the sensor excites the electrons in the sensor’s substrate, creating an electric signal which is then amplified into a larger signal for processing. It detects a wavelength range of 8 to 12 micrometers to detect the IR radiation emitted by the human skin (33 to 38°C). It scans for rapid changes of IR energy in an environment, thus only detecting motion.

Figure 1. Passive Infrared Sensor

Table 1. Pros and cons of PIR sensors

Pros Cons
1) Economical and long-lasting 1) Unwanted shutoff
2) Self-powered 2) Cannot detect differences between humans and objects with similar temperature range.
3) Cannot penetrate glass and concrete.

5.2.2  Microwave sensor

The microwave sensor generates microwave pulses into an area and detects any phase shifts in the receiving signal as the waves bounce off objects. It is an active sensor (constantly generating microwaves into its environment).

           Figure 2.         Microwave sensor

Table 2. Pros and Cons of Microwave sensor

Pros Cons
1) Very sensitive 1) Expensive
2) Works in harsh environment 2) Requires external power source
3) Able to penetrate through walls

5.2.3  Combined types of motion sensors

Dual sensors are only activated when both types sense motion. For instance, a dual microwave or PIR sensor will start out on the passive infrared sensor setting, as it consumes less energy. When the passive infrared sensor is tripped, the microwave sensor will turn on.

Figure 3. Combined types of Motion Sensors

Pros Cons
1) Extremely sensitive 1) More expensive compared to other types of sensors.
2) Resistant to outdoor exposures and other interferences

5.3  Benefits of Proposed Solution

The benefits have been projected by first, choosing the type of sensor, and then assessing how it will be beneficial in classrooms.

5.3.1  Choosing the Type of Sensor

After looking into the different types of sensors from our team’s research, the PIR sensor is the most suitable sensor for classrooms. The three main reasons are as follows:

  1. The PIR sensor is the cheapest type of motion sensors. Since SIT@Dover will be used for the next 3 to 5 years before moving to Punggol, it is best to use the cheapest type to fulfill basic motion sensing capabilities.
  2. The PIR sensor does not require any additional power source to function. It basically ‘waits’ for IR radiation to be absorbed by its pyroelectric sensor.
  3. The PIR sensor cannot detect through glass doors, windows or concrete walls. Hence it will only detect if someone walks into a classroom and not walking past a classroom.

5.3.2  PIR Motion Sensor in Classrooms

Having a PIR motion sensor installed in the classrooms of SIT@Dover allows for better regulation of lights. Whenever the classroom is vacant for 15 minutes, the lighting units will be switched off. This will help in saving electricity and reduction of utility bills, allowing the institute to be more productive in other avenues where required.

Reader’s Response Draft 3

In the article “Duo turn plastic waste into a concrete idea” (Goy, 2016), discusses the green and economical efforts of converting plastic waste to carbon nanotubes with the use of a different catalyst innovated by BlueRen company. Carbon nanotubes are extensively used in batteries and electronics as they are light, strong and can conduct electricity well. Furthermore, they can be used as an additive to enhance the properties of concrete and this can reduce the usage of cement by 30 percent. Unlike common recycling methods, BlueRen’s technology focuses on upcycling which converts waste into products of a higher value. Although carbon nanotubes have many beneficial applications due to its favorable properties, there are some possible negative effects they have on the environment and even on people.

As the utilization of products and goods containing carbon nanotubes continue to rise in the future, the probability of these tubes entering our environment increases as well. According to the article “Carbon Nanotubes and the Environment” (Phys.org, 2009), scientists from the research center Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) have found that apart from their exceptional properties, carbon nanotubes also have adverse characteristics which show that nanotube production may be dangerous to the environment. Levitt (n.d.) states that carbon nanotubes may leak into the environment via water by forming colloidal solutions (a type of chemical mixture where one substance is dispersed evenly throughout another) if their surface structure is changed. These changes may either take place deliberately during the manufacturing phase or occur due to natural causes after the tubes are leaked into the environment. As colloids in water, carbon nanotubes can be freely carried anywhere in environmental waters.

However, if and how they affect aquatic ecosystems are questions which are still not answered. Jaymi (2011) mentions that a study conducted by researchers from Empa and the Agroscope Reckenholz-Taenikon (ART) Research Station shows that while carbon nanotubes do not have harmful effects on green algae, they do restrict its growth by depriving the plant of light and space. Still, these effects only happen at concentrations of more than one milligram per liter, which is unlikely to be met presently. But in the future, they may.

Not only do carbon nanotubes affect the environment, it may affect people as well. Due to their ability to penetrate cell walls, carbon nanotubes may cause health risks if inhaled. Scientists noticed that carbon nanotubes look and function like asbestos fibers, which have been proved to cause mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining that can take 30 to 40 years to appear following exposure, according to a study led by the Queen’s Medical Research Institute (Larry, 2008). Asbestos fibers are particularly harmful as they are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs yet too long for the body’s immune system to destroy.

In conclusion, the effects of carbon nanotubes are just being explored. As the use of carbon nanotubes increases in the future, more nanoparticles will be released into the environment and its effects may worsen. Despite the favorable properties of carbon nanotubes and its many beneficial applications, they are not so good for our health and our environment. Therefore, more studies should be conducted on the effects of carbon nanotubes not to keep nanotechnology from advancing further but instead to indicate the dangers of nanotubes, especially at manufacturing sites as it may affect people.

References:

Goy, P. (2016). Duo turn plastic waste into a concrete idea. The Straits Times. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/duo-turn-plastic-waste-into-a-concrete-idea

Jaymi, H. (2011). Carbon Nanotubes in Environment Affect The Growth of Algae. Treehugger. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/carbon-nanotubes-in-environment-affect-the-growth-of-algae.html

Larry G. (2008). Study Says Carbon Nanotubes as Dangerous as Asbestos. Scientific American. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carbon-nanotube-danger

Levitt, A. (n.d.). Carbon Nanotubes Dangerous to the Environment. The Future Of Things. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://thefutureofthings.com/4077-carbon-nanotubes-dangerous-to-the-environment

Phys.org. (2009). Carbon nanotubes and the environment. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://phys.org/news/2009-05-carbon-nanotubes-environment.html