An environmental "bubble" tailored to each person follows employees around to save energy
The team at international design and innovation firm Carlo Ratti Associati have developed ‘Office 3.0,’ a newly designed smart system for the workplace that integrates the Internet of Things on a whole new level.
Created specifically for the firm’s Agnelli Foundation headquarters in Torino, Italy, the technology features personalized heating, lighting and cooling systems that shadow occupants around the building. According to the firm, this idea has the potential to slash energy use by up to 40%.
Office 3.0 works via a network of sensors named the Building Management System (BMS), which monitors each employees’ movements and different sets of data including occupancy levels, temperature, CO2 concentration, and the status of meeting rooms. The BMS then utilizes the information gathered to respond accordingly and send instructions to products and services throughout the whole building. For example, it can switch off lights in a room that’s not in use, or heat meeting rooms just in time for people to use them. When an occupant leaves a given space, the room returns naturally to ‘standby mode,’ “just like a computer does.”
The BMS functions via an app, which all employees are instructed to download. Here, amongst other data, each person inputs their preferred temperature to work in, which is how the “thermal bubble” encapsulates them throughout their working day knows what degree to set it at.
Carlo Ratti, Director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and founder of Carlo Ratti Associati explains, “Today, a lot of energy is wasted heating or cooling empty buildings. By synchronizing energy usage and human occupancy within buildings we can create a more sustainable and responsive architecture.”
Office 3.0 is the perfect example of what the future workplace could look like. The technology has the potential to lend itself to other environments such as blocks of flats and public spaces including museums and retail stores. If it limits as much energy waste as it says it does and has the capacity to be cost effective, expect to see a similar individually-tailored BMS near you soon.
Carlo Ratti Associati