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Automation of commercial building environmental controls?

Air conditioners, lighting, air handling units, etc. in large buildings are famously difficult to optimize by hand and account for significant energy use in extreme climates. When people investigate these kinds of systems, it isn't uncommon to find fans switched on needlessly for years or to find that the system is fighting itself by heating and cooling at the same time.

Some companies are chipping away at this problem at the edges but it is far from solved and might make a good project for you. It's definitively complex.


You are very welcome. Good luck with your project.


I had an idea the other night for an AI system that monitors chickens growing in pens in a chicken farm.

Chickens are raised by the thousands and they reach slaughter age in weeks. So what if the system could perform experiments on them and monitors their health and development by optimizing for maximum profit?

Web cam for computer vision of activity levels.
Scale in the pen for weight.
Other responding variables?


  • food (quantity?, Different kinds of feed?)
  • water
  • light (intensity? Hours per day?)
  • frequency of light (spectrum)
  • nose levels? Music?
  • antibiotics
  • other medications?
  • temp
  • humidity
  • vitamin and mineral supplements
  • pen size?
  • others

At the very least, you could use web cams with computer vision to identify the sick chickens and alert the farmer of the problem so they can investigate. That would be a fairly simple system to build.

But at the high end, you might build a system that significantly increases the efficiency with which we produce food.

Of course, you could substitute other animals but chickens are nice because you get several generations each year.

Good luck with your project.

Classic DEV Post from Jul 5 '19

What's one thing you wish you knew before you started programming?

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