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Building Impulse: A novel digital toolkit for productive, healthy and resource-efficient buildings - Dr Mauro Overend

The principal novel aspect of this research project is the creation of a ‘toolkit’ of digital sensors and other methods for capturing overall occupant response in terms of comfort, satisfaction, productivity and well‐ being. The toolkit consists of a range of existing sensors and additional devices that together capture the wide effects of novel resource‐ efficient technologies, such as the user responses to automatic façade systems and the effects of material‐ efficient structures on occupant productivity and well‐ being.

The digital sensing and control of building components is in its infancy, but offers exciting opportunities to shape new intelligent buildings that provide safer, healthier and more productive environments whilst using fewer resources. The principal challenge in this field is to understand how the various transient environmental characteristics (e.g. visual, thermal, acoustic, air quality, vibration and interaction) that define an internal environment act simultaneously to affect our overall sense of comfort and satisfaction and how this in turn leads to productivity and wellbeing. Knowledge of these relationships would enable us to construct buildings and control novel building technologies in a far more effective and user‐ centric manner, for example it would be possible to: (i) devise control strategies for switchable glazing that reduce energy demand and simultaneously respond occupants’ reactions to these dynamic changes and; (ii) reduce the mass of a building frame without compromising safety, by accounting for occupants’ response to deformations / vibrations. In the absence of this holistic measure of occupant comfort and satisfaction, the use of resource‐ efficient measures and technologies can be (and often are) very disruptive for occupants. This challenge is particularly timely because there is an unprecedented demand for resource‐ efficient, healthy and productive buildings to accommodate the additional 2.5 billion people that are expected to live in cities by 2050.

Building Impulse responds to this challenge. It is a multi‐ disciplinary research project that demonstrates how holistic occupant responses to transient changes in buildings can be obtained effectively and unobtrusively and that the arsing digital data can be used to optimise building performance in real‐ time as well as design better future buildings. Building Impulse brings together and extends ongoing PhD research at CUED in this field and involves collaboration with the Department of Psychology. This feasibility stage of the research funded by the CDBB mini project represents a first attempt to capture useful data in a holistic, integrated manner. The principal novel aspect of this research project is the creation of a ‘toolkit’ of digital sensors and other methods for capturing overall occupant response in terms of comfort, satisfaction, productivity and well‐ being. The toolkit consists of a range of existing sensors and additional devices that together capture the wide effects of novel resource‐ efficient technologies, such as the user responses to automatic façade systems and the effects of material‐ efficient structures on occupant productivity and well‐ being.

Researcher:

Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge


Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge


Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge


Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge


Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction


Arup

 

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Welcome to the Centre for Digital Built Britain.  

The Centre for Digital Built Britain is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future and transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure.