The Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation (CRC CI) has launched a research project on smart building to help produce healthy and sustainable workplaces that could ultimately save Australia billions of dollars annually.

Dr Keith Hampson, CRC CI chief executive officer says that the cost of deficient building environments or ‘sick buildings’ in Australia runs into the tens of thousands of dollars. “These costs are likely to increase over time unless buildings are designed and operated more efficiently and intelligently in the future,” he notes. “Our research is developing smart technologies that will assist in this process.”

Dr Hampson says there were many benefits for developing smart building technologies that support healthy indoor environments and the energy efficient operation and maintenance of workplaces.

“Businesses will benefit through improved worker productivity while building owners, operators and tenants will benefit through reduced building operation and maintenance costs.”

The smart building research is being conducted by CRC CI partners: CSIRO, Arup Australasia, Bovis Lend Lease , Queensland University of Technology and Queensland Department of Public Works.

Research project leader Dr Greg Foliente of CSIRO says stage one of the research has already commenced. “During stage one we are undertaking a scoping study to review and assess technologies that could measure and control factors important for healthy and sustainable workplaces,” he notes. “We will also develop a proposal for a prototype hardware and software system for smart indoor environment control.

“The long term goal of our project is to develop and implement technologies to support healthy, eco-friendly and commercially viable buildings and facilities, and facilitate triple-bottom line assessment and reporting.”

Dr Foliente says there is potential for improving design concepts in both architectural and engineering aspects and in developing new materials, sensors and technologies for future smart building systems.”

Source: Building Products News.