Engineering Management & Systems Engineering;
School of Engineering & Applied Science

EEM Doctoral Candidate Displays Research at 2013 SEAS R&D Showcase

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EEM doctoral candidate Iryna Payosova exhibited the preliminary results of her research and made a presentation at the 2013 SEAS Research and Development Showcase on February 20, 2013. The title of Iryna’s exhibit was “A Multiobjective ‘Analysis of Alternatives’ Tool for Energy Investments at Fixed-Site Installations.”

In her exhibit, Iryna displayed progress she has made in developing a decision-support model to help the United States Department of the Army (DA), Federal agencies and other large organizations prioritize energy investment opportunities in order to meet multiple conflicting and noncommensurable environmental and energy goals established by statutes, Executive Orders and other mandates. All U.S. Federal government agencies presently are facing unprecedented challenges in the area of sustainable energy supplies due to a series of Presidential and Congressional mandates setting forth a number of extremely aggressive targets to guide a major transformation from dependence on fossil fuels to portfolios of renewable energy sources.

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DA has responded to this challenge via its Net Zero Energy initiative. To date, however, DA has not developed an analytical framework and set of relevant metrics to measure progress towards the net zero energy (NZE) goal. Instead, the Department is relying on a set of energy-related reporting requirements under the large set of mandates that currently apply to DA as means of assessing progress. Iryna’s research is focused on developing an NZE assessment tool that can provide policy-relevant information to DA in a more useful manner than reliance on the extremely large and noncomparable data set available from current energy efficiency, renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction reporting requirements. Moreover, such analytical framework and metrics will allow not only the assessment of current progress in existing programs and projects, but also the evaluation of energy investment alternatives.

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Iryna has determined that the analytical construct most appropriate for the net zero optimization problems involves a selection of tools from among those characterized as Multi-Criteria Decision Aiding (MCDA) methods. MCDA methods consist of a class of analytical procedures that can operationalize multiple incommensurable goals, objectives and criteria for problems. MCDA tools that rely on the input of subject matter experts (SMEs) can use either a priori or a posteriori elicitation approaches. In our research, we have primarily focused on a priori SME opinion elicitations.

Her research to date has consisted of the following steps: (1) Identification of energy-related mandates applicable to the Department of the Army, more than 50 total. (2) Enrollment of subject matter experts for the research from several organizational types: Department of Defense (DoD) and DA, other Federal organizations, private sector and investment companies, and energy-focused nonprofit organizations. (3) Conducting a Delphi iterative process in which the SMEs reached consensus on an NZE objectives hierarchy. (4) Identification of a criteria set from the final objectives hierarchy. (5) Specification of energy investment alternatives (individual projects and portfolios) at five different levels of budget constraints, using DoD documents, reports, and input from points of contact at DA. (6) Conducting another Delphi days to elicit weights from the SMEs. (7) Optimization in order to identify preferred portfolios at each budget constraint level, using normalized project performance measures and the criteria weights collected via the Delphi process.

Preliminary results of Iryna’s research indicates that the decision-support tool can be an improvement to the current heuristic approach used by DA for making energy investment and budget allocation decisions. .It can assist DA in identifying preferred energy investment portfolios at the national level while considering relevant criteria such as reduced energy consumption, increased internally generated renewable energy, potential for mission impairment, cost savings and environmental impacts.

Iryna’s research was funded by the Logistics Management Institute (LMI) and performed in cooperation with the LMI and DA. Her SEAS R&D Showcase poster can be seen at the following link.

More information about the R&D Showcase can be seen at the following website: http://www.seas.gwu.edu/rdshowcase/.