Environment Analysis Tool

What we could learn from Agnelli Foundation HQ?

9th July 2017 News 0

Agnelli Foundation HQ, the headquarter of Agnelli Foundation was just redesigned and transformed into “Office 3.0”, an app-based controlling system which using Internet of Things (IoT) to feed realtime occupant’s needs in heating, cooling and lighting.

The redesign is developed by Carlo Ratti Association. “As work has become increasingly digital, why should be bothered to go into the office?a�? said byA�Carilo Ratti.

a�?The key answer to that question lies in human interaction. The central idea behind the Agnelli Foudnation project is that by seamlessly integrating digital technologies within the physical space, we can forge better relationships between people and with the building they inhabit, ultimately fostering interaction and creativity.”

a�?This is what we call Office 3.0. Ita��s a vision that overcomes the limitations of the pre-internet spaces as well as the alienating isolation of teleworking.a�?

Cooperated with Siemens, different kinds of sensors were installed in the whole building to monitor data such as occupants’ location, temperature,A�CO2 concentration, and the availability of meeting rooms. Then each occupant downloaded the building management system app (currently beta version) onto their mobile phone and set their preferred environment condition such as temperature and illuminance. By all these monitored data and subjective control, the environment could be interactive and provide a better realtime responsive environmental service for the occupants.

Office plan showing potential heat plan

The Wall Street JournalA�called the concept of their a�?Office 3.0a�? as a�?straight out of science fictiona�?, while NewsA�described it as “the end of thermostat wars”.A�DezeenA�thought it is a�?one of the top 10 visions for the futurea�?.


This project is really a leading project which bring IoT into a real building. Different kinds of sensors could generate tons of data which is good for research and building management system. Location, temperature, illuminance and motion are the main parameters to provide the realtime feedback system. However, there are still so many questions under the hook:

  1. Model. As different people have different environment condition preference, so in a same open office, which kind of energy saving this personalized method could achieve? How each personalized part interact with each other? Or does this method only suite for the office which has fewer people with large space.
  2. Validation. In academic research, there is conclusion that “You need to cost more energy to restore the environment condition you lost”. When the motions sensors detected that the occupants leaving (I mean go to toilet for 10 mins) and stop the air condition system in his area. As all these personalize areas are in the same open office, the thermal condition are influence by air movement, heat change and so on. A�When he came back 10 mins later, whether the energy cost to restore to the previous condition be higher. In other words, do they have any models or simulation to prove their method is efficient or could be widely used?
  3. Human behavior. Human have their own abilities to change thermal condition, such as take on/off clothes, do exercises, open/close windows, thermal control and so on to make their body adapt to the environment. Adaptive thermal comfort model is an example which considered human thermal behavior and made a natural ventilation building more energy efficient and comfort. But in this case, there is no analysis in human environmental behavior.
  4. Does personalized preference means comfort or efficient for work? If you bring a environment condition which is similar with your home, will you become sleepy or in high spirit? Academic research has proved that cooler temperature is good for working on office.
  5. Privacy. Monitor occupants’ location in this building is a serious topics. How to specify which occupant who he is? Motion sensors, face recognition, bluetooth in the app or NFC? And how to process and protect all these data, there are still lots of protocols, laws and standards to solve.
  6. Cost. This is always an interesting topic. How to popularize this technology in more buildings, A�rather than a test projects for MIT design project, is more meaningful for building management service.

In all, no matter which level the building performed, it exactly bring a smart digital dream come true. The data generated here could be a great soil for research in energy use and architectural design. In our EdenApp team, similarly, we are solving the problems behind and providing the solutions. We are now making the personalized thermal comfort model with more environmental parameters A�with our EdenApp – Thermal Comfort and will generate (or simulate) the thermal interaction between multiple occupants for a small office.

We will publish our latest research progress on our website, please sign up to our mailing list.A�If you have any questions about our project, please contact with us.


Yiqiang Zhao

PhD candidate

University of Edinburgh

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