A Healthy House Tracker
We can’t ignore the effects of climate change on how we live or our ever growing use of resources such as electricity and water. As consumers we look to be more environmentally conscious, but what about our houses and offices – are they running efficiently?
A research team led by Rene Van Meeuwen and made up of architects from UWA and Felix Laboratories Pty Ltd, based at UWA are collaborating with environmental scientists from Murdoch University to create innovation in the building design process and better management of resources for building owners. Their aim is to arm consumers and architects with knowledge, in a simple and easy to use manner so that existing and future spaces can be sustainable and clever about energy usage.
A healthy house or office can be energy efficient in areas including electricity, gas and water consumption, use of wind direction and solar efficiency. This research utilises existing smart and augmented reality technology as well as the concepts of sustainable living to save consumers around 30% of the lifecycle cost of the building.
Sensor devices placed in and around the home or office will interact with hand held and wearable devices to analyse the health of a space. An app alert will then indicate inefficiencies and provide recommendations (such as opening certain windows to allow better airflow) as well as calculate how much those changes could save you over time. The software then feeds back into a network system making the consumer part of a bigger community of knowledge.
By incorporating augmented reality the team cleverly combine a software driven environment with the physical environment of a building allowing the owner to better understand their home as a living thing.
The team are also working on alternate environments such as their Cambodia project where the system is being adapted to suit tropical environments.
The team at Felix Labs who are known as many minds, single author have achieved amazing heights in their 10 years of research including as Australia’s representative at the 2014 Venice Biennale with their Augmented Australia app and being shortlisted for an international design competition which lowered the carbon footprint of a building by 30%.
The healthy house tracker technology will have a positive and wide reaching impact on Australians and the environment. With the research currently in its initial stages, it is predicted that this technology will be available for use as an app in three years.
The end product will allow consumers to become more aware of what resources they are using in and around the home and office and be able to monitor them at a glance, with resources having a tangible value. Consumers can then easily adjust their surroundings to save energy and money.
For architects and planners the introduction of soft architecture into the design phase of a house enables predictive feedback on how a house would perform, as it’s being designed, making alterations more cost effective and the home more energy efficient.