Harvesting and Harnessing Intelligence on Products and Services to Achieve Sust.&En. Eff. Buildings

author: Vlado Stankovski, Fakulteta za gradbeništvo in geodezijo, Univerza v Ljubljani
published: Dec. 1, 2014,   recorded: September 2014,   views: 1540


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The tendency for an improved attitude of the society towards the environment in the third millennium received a boost - at least in terms of national policies of the developed countries. The building sector is responsible for approximately 41% of the final energy consumption in Europe and the operation and management of buildings is responsible for great amount of waist, which is released daily in the environment. Hence, the building sector represents a relatively great area where significant improvements are possible both in terms of reduction of energy consumption and in terms of the environmental burden of harmful environmental emissions and resource depletion.

The need for an information support in this domain was analyzed by conducting a survey among the stakeholders in the construction sector. An overview of existing solutions i.e. the most common and state-of-the-art approaches to sustainable building design and refurbishment was made. Following this, a Cloud service called ENTRA DOM (see Figure 1) was developed in order to organize, harvest and harness information on sustainable buildings. The developed application is available freely in a form of a Cloud service available through Heroku (http://stormy-sierra-1498.herokuapp.com/). Semantic Web technologies (particularly the Linked Data approach) are used to create a knowledge base of services and products in this domain offered by various companies. The application itself is developed in Ruby.

The Cloud service includes information on various products and services which are designed by high-tech companies in order to aid towards more competent decision-making when designing new buildings or when renovating existing ones. It allows companies to present publicly their products and services as well as to provide the interested users with information support when making renovation decisions.

When designing the application, special care was put in order to design user interfaces for the various types of users – both products and service providers and consumers.

Most important part of the developed application is the concept of a ‘solution basket’. The user who is about to renovate a building can search for similar buildings contained in the knowledge base. Once a similar building is discovered, it is possible to browse through a list of solutions that have already been used in connection to that type of a building. Such solutions can be organized according to various criteria, such as the maximum energy saving potential or renovation cost.

The developed application is currently being tested by the company Studio mediterana d.o.o. from Izola.

The general idea of this cloud application is to serve as a common platform for various societies concerned to increase the quality of services and products in the construction sector. An example of such a society is the Green Building Council Slovenia that organized the first conference on building sustainability in Slovenia in 2013.

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