Sustainable cooling vital for smart cities, says MIT professor
Dubai, UAE, 24 March 2019: Although cities occupy only two per cent of the world’s surface, they host up to 50% of the world’s population and are responsible for 75% of global energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions, said Carlo Ratti, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati, during his keynote address for the ‘Design and the City of the Future’ event on March 19, at the American University in Dubai (AUD). During a comprehensive discussion on how IoT is shaping the built-environment, Ratti underscored the important role that sustainable cooling must play in cities of the future. “Fixing energy usage and occupancy is vital,” he said, “when you think about how much energy you spend cooling your homes.”
Ratti said trends in modern architecture are steadily placing greater emphasis on the importance of designing better ways to control temperature with minimum use of energy. This, he said, is especially the case in office spaces, which continue to evolve based on digital connectivity and individual requirements. Providing an example, Ratti pointed to the redesign of the Agnelli Foundation headquarters, in Turin, Italy, where Carlo Ratti Associati developed a customised environmental bubble that provides personalised heating, cooling and lighting systems to occupants throughout the building. By leveraging IoT technologies, Ratti said the building was able to optimise space and energy usage. While the company was deeply involved in the overall architecture of the historic structure, Ratti said the implementation of key technologies related to heating and cooling was done by Siemens Italy, which equipped the building with sensors for different data sets, including the location of the building’s occupants, temperature, CO2 concentration and the availability of meeting rooms.
Ratti said that he believes such an approach is scalable for other projects. “I really see it happening in high-end buildings,” he said. “Monitoring occupancy in a very fine way to create a climate around ourselves.” This, he said, is a best way to harness energy otherwise wasted from cooling in an inefficient manner.