Drive to thrive

Drive to thrive
The Data-Driven Smart Buildings Symposium was held at the University of New South Wales earlier this year. Dr Stephen White, L.AIRAH, reports.
An AIRAH-supported Data-Driven Smart Buildings Symposium was held in May at the University of New South Wales. The Symposium addressed the opportunity for digital technology and cyber-physical systems to enable new energy-efficiency and grid-flexibility solutions in building HVAC operations.

The Symposium was run in collaboration with the International Energy Agency’s Annex 81 “Data-Driven Smart Buildings”. With around half of the presentations coming from international speakers, the Symposium was a great opportunity to hear some different perspectives and get insight from around the world

Lagom and all that.

The Symposium led off with a keynote presentation from Professor Ivo Martinac (KTH Royal Institute of Technology), former vice-president of REHVA and Chair of the REHVA Task Force on Smart Buildings. He used the Swedish idea of Lagom (“in balance” or “just enough”) to call for a whole-of-building approach that serves the needs of building users and avoids the mistake of deploying digitalisation for its own sake. He also noted the importance of digitalisation as a critical management tool through access to measurement/data.

Subsequent sessions covered topics of:

  • Case studies, implementation learnings and novel smart building use-cases
  • Development and benchmarking of machine learning-based techniques for HVAC control
  • Opporunities and practical experience in the collection use of meta-data (semantic modelling)
  • A deep dive into examples of grid-integrated control

Barriers and opportunities

The day concluded with a predominantly industry-based panel session, reflecting on barriers and opportunities for the industry. Examples were given of how people have addressed practical considerations of data quality and data availability. The importance of resilience of smart building systems was stressed. John McCulloch of CSIRO gave a passionate presentation exploring industry skills, and the need for a user-centric approach to driving industry adoption.

With 14 presentations and a panel session, it was a very packed day. I heard lots of comments praising the breadth of topics covered and the quality of the work. Pleasingly, there was a strong sense that the industry is progressing rapidly and that there is an exciting purpose and vision for what lies ahead.

Like to know more?

For more on the Annex 81 Data-Driven Smart Buildings, visit https://annex81.iea-ebc.org/

Ecolibrium June-July 2023

This article appears in ecolibrium’s AUGUST-September 2023 issue

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