Using AR to redesign building systems

Recommended paper

I believe this is absolutely the way forward — for both retrofits of existing buildings and new construction.

Over the life of a commercial building, through tenant fit-outs and activity-based changes, existing HVAC systems trend away from being able to meet the the real-time needs of occupants. Energy efficiency declines. (And given that HVAC accounts for 40% of commercial office energy consumption, that’s a big deal!) Enabling a building to construct a physical model of itself would be a masterful step towards smart infrastructure.

Now, if only Masdar City had been more successful…

Enabling Self-aware Smart Buildings by Augmented Reality

Authors: Muhammad Aftab and Chi-Kin Chau, Masdar Institute



Conventional HVAC control systems are usually incognizant of the physical structures and materials of buildings. These systems merely follow pre-set HVAC control logic based on abstract building thermal response models, which are rough approximations to true physical models, ignoring dynamic spatial variations in built environments. To enable more accurate and responsive HVAC control, this paper introduces the notion of self-aware smart buildings, such that buildings are able to explicitly construct physical models of themselves (e.g., incorporating building structures and materials, and thermal flow dynamics).
The extensive user-environment interactions in augmented reality not only can provide intuitive user interfaces for building systems, but also can capture the physical structures and possibly materials of buildings accurately to enable real-time building simulation and control.
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