SAMBA to improve office-building comfort

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A group of researchers from the University of Sydney’s Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Lab, part of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, has developed a world-leading technology to measure and improve the indoor human comfort factor of office buildings – SAMBA.

The compact, box-shaped device is designed to measure air temperature and speed, humidity, light, sound and air pollutants – the key factors shown to have the greatest impact on an office worker’s health, comfort and productivity. The device is built on sensor technology that relays information about a building’s indoor environment back to a central computer for further analysis.

The research project has been funded by the University of Sydney’s Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships (CDIP) program. The new technology is the brainchild of PhD student Tom Parkinson, who developed the idea with his brother and IEQ research assistant Alex Parkinson, under the leadership of Professor Richard de Dear, head of Architectural Science at the University of Sydney.

Professor de Dear, a world-renowned expert in indoor climate and air quality who has been researching thermal comfort in buildings for the last 30 years, says that indoor environmental quality is just too important for companies to ignore today. “IEQ is a complex science,” he says. “SAMBA will help to make sense of the science by giving companies the information or evidence to understand how efficiently and effectively their building is operating for the comfort of its people.

“Until now the industry has been limited by technology and high costs to capture this information through one device. What we now have is a revolution in technology, which has been produced at a relatively low cost and will have high returns for companies and its employees,” he adds.

SAMBA was chosen as the People’s Choice winner of the ‘Weapons of Mass Creation’ innovation award at the Green Cities conference in Melbourne this year. It has also been shortlisted for the Property Council of Australia’s 2015 Innovation and Excellence Awards to be announced in Sydney on 1 May.

Image caption: University of Sydney’s Professor Richard de Dear with the world-leading technology SAMBA created by the IEQ Lab within the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. Photo credit: Maja Baska.

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