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Smart House- Building the Office of Tomorrow

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Smart House- Building the Office of Tomorrow

Post  Admin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:55 am

There's a lot of debate over what place the office might have in tomorrow's working landscape.


As technology makes flexible working easier, the maxim: "Work is not where you go, it's what you do," looks ever more realistic.

But one thing that might hurry the flight from the traditional office is the thought your canteen could be serving up meals grown on the walls of the building.

While you may have a sneaking suspicion the catering staff already do this, there is a real chance such delicacies will feature on the menu some time soon.

Intelligent buildings

This culinary delight was one of a number of concepts presented at a recent British Council for Offices conference, where delegates looked at the next generation of "intelligent" buildings.

"This is not just about automation, an igloo could be said to be an intelligent building," says Derek Clements-Croome, emeritus professor at the University of Reading.

"These buildings will respond to the needs of people, there will be an increased amount of personalisation - you will be in control of the environment and be able to tune it to your needs."

This means your office may look very different indeed in a few years.



Designers talk of digital walls, which have sensors embedded so you can interact with them.

Or, if you want the professor's technical explanation, "dye sensitised solar cells with titanium oxide layers on a surface with light absorbing dye molecules adsorbed on surface which can generate electricity".

These walls will build up a profile of you and change your working environment accordingly.

This could mean the lighting around your desk dims slightly when you arrive, or a pre-determined microclimate is created for your meeting.

Nano state
The technology that enables this interaction, known as "nano-coating", will basically turn your cold, unfeeling office into an expressive medium

It could mean the moment you enter the building your workspace starts preparing itself for your imminent arrival - even if you are hot-desking.

This is far from being science fiction, according to John Monaghan from Cisco, who is already pushing ahead with such technology.

"When someone walks in [our technology] can recognise who they are and then offer them the appropriate level of service," he says.

"It's about creating a seamless pleasant user experience."

And that's just on the inside.

The building industry is latching onto advances made by other industries like aviation to create innovations such as self-healing and self-cleaning materials.

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Re: Smart House- Building the Office of Tomorrow

Post  Admin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:56 am

Self-cleaning concrete, for example, uses titanium dioxide to break down unsightly pollution into its chemical constituents, which rain then washes off the walls.

A noted example is the Air France headquarters at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris, which has remained white despite all the attendant aviation pollution.

All of which brings us to why your meal options in the canteen might benefit from this evolving building technology.

Lunch time
Sean Affleck, from Make architects, is a big fan of "living facades".

He describes these as "vertical fields", where plants are grown up the walls, absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen as they go.

This could help in the fight against global warming Mr Affleck says.

"Growing living facades could cool cities down like in a forest, where you find cool woodland glades because of all the evaporation going on around you," he says.


A similar option is harnessing the green power of algae.

"Algae is 200% better at absorbing CO2 and producing bio-mass than, say, oil seed rape," Mr Affleck says.

He envisages buildings wrapped in algae tubes, into which gaseous waste products from the building are pumped.

The algae, having done its cleansing work, would then be harvested for power.

One example where this is already happening is the Red Hawk power plant in Arizona, USA.

There carbon dioxide rich gases created during production are passed through tubes of algae, which take out 80% of the gas and release oxygen.

The algae is then recycled through biomass generators to create biodiesel.

But if we don't want to turn our offices into power plants, there are other applications.

Mr Affleck cites a project in Mumbai (Bombay), India, where a firm is turning algae grown on fences wrapped around the building into cosmetics.

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Re: Smart House- Building the Office of Tomorrow

Post  Admin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:56 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20965207

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Re: Smart House- Building the Office of Tomorrow

Post  Admin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:57 am




Algae-filled tubes could be used to absorb the CO2 produced by buildings, then used to produce biofuels

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