Sponsored Research Projects

External Proposals and Grants 

Title:Valuation of Investments in Building Energy Improvements under Uncertainties
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$250,000
Source:Civil Infrastructure Systems Program, Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation, National Science Foundation
Duration:August 2013-August 2015
Purpose:The objective of this research is to create an investment valuation model to assess building energy-saving projects under uncertainty that takes into account the future of energy prices and the cost and performance of energy-saving technologies. This investment valuation model will determine the optimal time of investment for the building energy-saving project. The proposed model is based on a real options formulation. An alternative method will be developed to estimate the volatility of the investment that captures the impact of the uncertainty on the value of the energy-saving project. The proposed investment valuation model will be used to examine how uncertainty potentially influences the behavior of decision makers when dealing with energy-saving projects and in this way provide some theoretical insights. Actual energy-saving projects will be utilized to refine and validate the developed model. If successful, this project will provide the research community with a well-founded investment valuation model that will be tailored for energy-saving investments. This research will assist investors to make hard energy-saving decisions that increase the likelihood of achieving ambitious national energy reduction goals over the long-term. By holding workshops, the research outcomes will be communicated to building energy professionals. This research engages a large number of underrepresented, economically disadvantaged students from the joint program between the Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) and the Rockdale High School (a high needs Title I school) that focuses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning activities. This activity is intended to raise awareness about energy efficiency of high school students. High school students and their teachers will be hosted in the Georgia Tech Economics of Sustainable Built Environment Lab for a four-week research boot camp in energy-efficient buildings.
 
Title:Streamlining Project Delivery through Risk Analysis
Role:Principal Investigator (Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Gordon Kingsley and Dr. Juan Rogers (School of Public Policy, Georgia Tech))
Funding:$499,994
Source:Georgia Department of Transportation
Duration:April 2013-April 2015
Purpose:The major objective of this research is to elevate the current state of practice in risk management through early identification of risk in transportation projects based on project type, complexity, and sourcing decisions. The project will lead to the development of a comprehensive guidebook that advances the adoption of risk analysis tools to enhance the process of project delivery in GDOT. The deliverable will be a set of best practices for risk analysis that helps GDOT reduce undesirable project outcomes (cost overrun and schedule delay) and streamline project delivery.
 
Title:Managing a Portfolio of Projects – Metrics for Improvement
Role:Co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator: Ali Touran (Northeastern University) and Co-Principal Investigator: Ed Minchin (University of Florida))
Funding:$250,000 – Funded ($60,273 is Georgia Tech’s budget)
Source: Construction Industry Institute (CII)
CII is a consortium of leading owners, engineering and construction contractors, and suppliers who have a singular mission: to improve the cost effectiveness of the capital facility project life cycle, from pre-project planning through completion and commissioning.
Duration:September 2012-August 2014
Purpose:The primary purpose of this research is to identify, analyze and recommend definitive best practices for effectively managing a portfolio of projects. Examples of specific management areas that will be investigated include resource management, financial management, risk management and portfolio metrics.
 
Title:Innovative Project Delivery Using Alternative Financing Mechanisms: Assessment of Benefits, Costs, and Risks
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$206,164.00
Source:Georgia Department of Transportation
Duration:March 2013-September 2014
Purpose:The overarching objective of this project is to enhance understanding of GDOT regarding the complexity of combining financing into the innovative project delivery process. Especially, the goal of this research is to identify and analyze major opportunities, risks, and best practices for utilizing alternative financing mechanisms in developing surface transportation projects through innovative project delivery system.
 
Title:Solar, Installation, Mounting, Production, Labor, and Equipment Balance of System (SIMPLE BoS)
Role:Subcontractor to the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in year 2 for conducting productivity and time and motion study (The project is led by the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.) in collaboration with Suniva (Norcross, Georgia, U.S.) and Radiance Solar (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.).
Funding:$41,006
Source:Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) SunShot Initiative (The GTRI project is $2.87 Million Federal, $5.87Million Total Project Value)
Duration:January 2013-December 2013
Purpose:Develop a productivity analysis course for preparing students to conduct productivity research, and time and motion study.
 
Title:A Systematic Approach for the Assessment of Green Opportunities for Electrical Contractors
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$7,000 – Funded
Source:ELECTRI International – The Foundation for Electrical Construction
ELECTRI International awarded the PI a $7,000 special research grant through a partnership created by the Atlanta Chapter NECA and Lutron Electronics Company, Inc.
Duration:September 2012-August 2013
Purpose:(a) Develop and present a systematic approach to electrical contractors for the evaluation of major green opportunities based on their main characteristics and potential benefits and risks and (b) Develop an investment valuation tool that can be used by electrical contractors to present green opportunities to prospective clients
 
Title:Best Practices for Determining Value of Research Results
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$30,000 – Funded
Source:The Southeast Transportation Consortium (STC) and the Louisiana Transportation Research Center (LTRC)
Duration:June 2012 – May 2013
Challenges:A need to demonstrate the impact that research has on transportation system safety and cost effectiveness; A variety of methods for determining the qualitative and/or quantitative value of transportation research project results; Facilitate focus groups and Delphi studies to retrieve subject matter experts’ opinions.
Outcomes:Identify and compile best practices of determining research value; Specify information required to reasonably determine benefits of implementing research.
 
Title:Development of Risk Management Strategies for State DOTs to Effectively Deal with Volatile Prices of Transportation Construction Materials
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$169,045 – Funded ($76,552 from UTC; $92,493 from GDOT)
Source: Georgia Tech University Transportation Center (UTC), The US Department of Transportation/Research & Innovative Technology Administration, with the matching fund provided by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Duration:May 2012 – January 2014
Challenges:Despite emerging developments in risk mitigation strategies, transportation agencies require a systematic approach to identify and examine the effectiveness and efficiency of different risk management strategies for their portfolios of transportation projects. There has been no comprehensive research to identify the key features of major risk management strategies and assess their appropriateness considering specific project goals and agencies’ strategic objectives. Also, the impact of major risk management strategies on transportation agencies’ cost savings profiles is not rigorously quantified. Further, existing risk management strategies are often insufficient since material prices are subject to substantial volatility, which timing and magnitude cannot be predicted accurately by transportation agencies and contractors. Therefore, there is a need for innovative and flexible risk management strategies that can effectively hedge the material price volatility risk.
Outcomes:Enhance transportation agencies’ understanding of the opportunities, challenges and best practices for utilizing risk management strategies for the material price volatility in transportation projects; Identify and analyze the latest developments and trends in utilization of risk management strategies for the mitigation of material price risk (e.g., major highway project characteristics, contractual relationships, transportation agencies’ objectives, institutional capabilities, enabling legislations and acceptance by highway contractor communities); Identify key features for the most promising risk management strategies and establish their respective potential benefits and limitations; Enhance the assessment of risk management strategies considering the strategic objectives of transportation agencies and unique project goals; Enhance the quantitative assessment of risk management strategies considering their key respective parameters; Devise appropriate risk identification and allocation matrices for the successful adoption of major risk management strategies.
Deliverable:A comprehensive risk management guide that systematically addresses risk management for material price volatility in different types of highway projects at various phases of project development.
 
Title:How Can Innovative Project Delivery Systems Improve GDOT’s Overall Efficiency in Transportation Project Delivery?
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$199,976 – Funded
Source:Georgia Department of Transportation
Duration:October 2011 – March 2013
Purpose: The overarching objective of this research project is to develop a best-practices guidebook to show how the effective adoption of Innovative Project Delivery Systems can help GDOT expedite the delivery of transportation projects, enhance the Department’s efficiency, and achieve the higher levels of performance and compliance with transparency, legal, and statutory expectations.
We will study how Innovative Project Delivery Systems have contributed to the State DOTs’ efficiency in the development and delivery of the transportation projects across the nation and how GDOT can utilize Innovative Project Delivery Systems, in order to enhance its efficiency. Several State DOTs’ experiences with innovative program delivery will be studied to identify appropriate mechanisms that the State DOTs have employed to fully utilize the benefits of Innovative Project Delivery Systems and enhance their efficiency at the organizational level. Specifically, we will examine the enabling regulations and statutory provisions that facilitate the adoption of Innovative Project Delivery Systems in other State DOTs. We will conduct research to identify and document the actual benefits that have been realized by State DOTs through the successful utilization of Innovative Project Delivery Systems. The major issues, challenges and barriers that the State DOTs have faced in the utilization of Innovative Project Delivery Systems will be identified and the mechanisms and strategies that State DOTs have employed to overcome these barriers will be explored.
It is anticipated that the findings of this research project will be used to develop a guidebook describing a set of best practices in implementing Innovative Project Delivery Systems. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) can use the outcomes of this research, in order to (a) expedite transportation project delivery; and (b) enhance the Department’s efficiency to achieve the higher levels of performance in compliance with the transparency, legal, and statutory expectations. This project is proposed in response to these pressing research needs.
 
Title:Timing of Investments in Building Solar Energy Intervention: A Real Options Framework to Evaluate Investments in Solar Energy for Buildings
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding:$10,337 – Funded
Source: The Education Trust of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, London, UK
Duration:June 2011 – May 2012
Purpose: We created an investment valuation model, which specifies the best time for the implementation of solar energy systems in existing buildings. Our model characterizes investors’ financial risk profiles in solar energy investments under uncertainties. Institutional building owners in the private and public sectors will benefit from our valuation model and make more-informed investment decisions about the viability and proper timing of solar retrofit solutions in existing buildings. We conducted the financial feasibility analysis of solar energy in existing buildings. We analyzed the financial viability of flexible, Solar-Ready Buildings and identified under which economic, technological and environmental conditions it is desirable to invest in delayed solar retrofit solutions. That is: When is it more attractive to delay the implementation of Photovoltaic (PV) panels and instead acquire only the option or flexibility to adopt the PV technology in the future? Property owners can use the findings of our analysis and make smarter investment decisions in renewable energy systems such as PV technologies.
 
Title:Recommended Guide for Next Generation of Transportation Design Build Procurement and Contracting in the State of Georgia
Recipient of 2013 High Value Research “Sweet Sixteen” Award by the Value of Research Task Force, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$172,242 – Funded
Source:Georgia Department of Transportation
Duration:August 2010 – July 2012
Purpose: The overall objective of the project is to develop a Transportation Design Build Guidebook for use by the GDOT to better implement and expand Design Build contracting in highway construction programs.
The major specific research objectives are:
·    Improve assessment procedures for identifying candidate projects for Design Build methodology  
·    Enhance decision-making processes of evaluating Design Build Teams for a project
·    Utilize innovative risk allocation strategies in Design Build contracting and procurement
 
Title:AUMScore®, Multifamily Property Utility Benchmarking Program
Role:Principal Investigator
Funding:$37,977 – Funded
Source:American Utility Management (AUM), Inc.
Duration:August 2010 – May 2011
Purpose:Analyze Energy Performance in Multifamily Properties and create an Energy Benchmarking Program using Data Envelopment Analysis Methodology.
We developed AUMScore® (SCORE stands for “Statistical Comparison of Relative Efficiency”), a multifamily energy benchmarking tool that will enable property owners to compare their properties’ energy usage across their own portfolios and across the multifamily industry. This tool promises to help owners drastically reduce their energy expenses and consumption by benchmarking energy use within a portfolio using continuously updated information from similar peer properties.
AUMScore®  employs data envelopment analysis, a statistical model that compares up to 30 variables per property to determine which properties are the most efficient in their peer group. The tool uses a 12-month rolling total of energy and water usage to assure the most current data is utilized and smoothed out seasonally. The most efficient properties will receive an efficiency score of 100, and as they decrease in efficiency, property scores are decreased. AUMScore® is the only benchmarking tool in the multifamily industry with the flexibility to incorporate additional input and output variables as they become more relevant through research and market trending. Additionally, AUMScore® includes specific property trending reports and identifies energy reduction goals while comparing energy efficiency percentages. Property owners now have a tool to track real-time energy use throughout their entire real estate portfolio.
 
Title:A Time Series Model for Forecasting Construction Cost Index
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding:$7,590.97 – Funded
Source: The Education Trust of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, London, UK
Duration: August 2009 – July 2010
Purpose:One way to tackle the issue of construction cost variations in surveying is to create an appropriate model for predicting construction cost trends. This is important since the ability to predict construction price variations is necessary for more accurate cost estimation. Therefore, the problem of interest in this proposal is to discuss how time series analysis can be applied to develop predictive models for CCI. This proposal is original since the applicability of time series analysis has never been investigated for CCI in the U.S. Practical benefits of our proposal include:
·         It promotes and advances theory and practice of surveying by incorporating expected price variations in cost estimating.
·         Contractors can use price forecasts in preparing more accurate bids and reducing construction costs by better timed material purchase.
·         International firms can reduce financial risk, increase successful bids, and assure reasonable profits.
·         The public will be the ultimate beneficiaries of our work since their taxes will be spend more efficiently and effectively in infrastructure and construction projects by owner organizations.
 
 
 
Internal Proposals and Grants Funded
 
Title:Determine the Impact and Effectiveness of BIM
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: $32,000 – Funded
Source: Initiatives in Architecture and Building Innovation, Digital Building Laboratory (DBL)
Duration: August 2012 – June 2013
Purpose:The objective of this research is to determine the impact and effectiveness of BIM – in its varied dimensions. The impact of BIM will be quantified on various project variables, such as number of Requests for Information (RFIs) and Change Orders (COs), considering several project characteristics including project type (healthcare, federal, commercial, etc.), region of country, project delivery method, etc. The variables of projects that use BIM will be compared with the variables of projects that do not use BIM. Within the projects that use BIM, we will also compare the relative effectiveness of using BIM considering various project characteristics. For instance, the effectiveness of using BIM is compared between design-build and design-bid-build projects or between healthcare and federal projects.
 
Title:Pre-Teaching: Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (P-T SURE)
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: $1,000 – Funded
Source:Subcontract from the general National Science Foundation grant to the CEISMC (Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing) Georgia Intern Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) Program, Georgia Institute of Technology
Duration: Summer 2012
Purpose:Support Ms. Talia Knapp a Georgia Tech undergraduate student in the College of Computing
 
Title:Pricing Flexibility in Solar-Ready Homes
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: $10,041 – Funded
Source: Georgia Tech Foundation (GTF)
Duration: August 2010 – June 2011
Purpose:The main objective of this project is to gain new knowledge about the viability of flexible solar ready retrofit solutions for existing homes: Under which economic, technological and environmental conditions is it desirable to invest in delayed solar retrofit solutions? That is: When is it more attractive to delay the implementation of Photovoltaic (PV) panels and instead acquire only the option or flexibility to adopt the PV technology in the future?
 
Title:Pre-Teaching: Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (P-T SURE)
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: $1,000 – Funded
Source:Subcontract from the general National Science Foundation grant to the CEISMC (Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing) Georgia Intern Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) Program, Georgia Institute of Technology
Duration: Summer 2011
Purpose:Support Mr. James Hite a Georgia Tech undergraduate student in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science
 
Title:Uncertainty Analysis Games for Teaching Construction Risk Management
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: $1,000 – Funded
Source: Georgia Tech Foundation, Class of 1969 Teaching Fellow
Duration: August 2010 – June 2011
Purpose:Develop customized uncertainty analysis games for teaching risk analysis to construction project managers.