The Active Building Centre Research Programme is researching and developing innovative tools and technologies that will ensure buildings of all scales contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions and a more sustainable built environment.
In 2019, the UK became one of the first advanced economies to pass legislation to target net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, the country is projected to just meet its fourth and fifth carbon reduction targets due largely to the interruption caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. So, if we are truly going to achieve net zero, what needs to happen?
Active buildings require data. “Things”, such as those producing renewable energy, measuring energy flow or monitoring environmental conditions, must be connected to the Internet to provide the information needed to support the intelligent integration of the buildings into the wider energy infrastructure; they form part of the Internet-of-Things (IoT).
Real life is uncertain, yet, despite everyone’s best efforts, it is impossible to remove the effects of uncertainty from our daily lives. Or is it? Well, if we are talking about the operation of residential buildings, we can. The team at Imperial College London are developing robust control strategies that will help to achieve low emissions goals and optimal comfort, while accounting for uncertainty.
Digitals twins have been widely used by industry for many decades. Nevertheless, their use in the built environment is relatively recent, but growing inline with the decarbonisation agenda. Literature to date has evidenced the role of digital twins in promoting energy improvements, but how can they be implemented more widely to benefit net-zero in the sector?
As we try to progress towards net-zero, there is something that stands out rather clearly: buildings matter. Their current energy and carbon footprint are tremendous, yet they have such a potential to become a positive force for change that there can be no net-zero by 2050 without their decarbonisation. How could we then support delivering positive impact?
Recent advancements in low-cost sensing technologies have proliferated the Internet of Things. IoT, as it is known, provides connectivity to any device via Internet Protocol, enabling more efficient monitoring and control of any medium, including active buildings. So how can we leverage these networks to improve building performance?