University Of Tokyo Collaborates On Smart Building Programme

It is working with nine private sector companies to launch an initiative to accelerate the role of building systems in green transition
Staff Reporter | Japan | Facilities Management

The School of Engineering of the University of Tokyo is working with nine private sector companies from the field of engineering, construction, building services and energy to launch the Smart Building System Research Initiative to foster collaborative research on smart building systems. The aim of the social cooperation programme is to accelerate the green transition as well as nurture talent in smart building systems and deepen engineering capabilities in the field of building services. The companies taking part in the programme are: Kandenko Co, Kyudenko Corporation, Shinryo Corporation, Taikisha, Dai-Dan Co, Takasago Thermal Engineering Co, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Tonets Corporation, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems.

The annual energy consumption during the operational phase of buildings constitutes approximately 30-40% of total societal energy consumption, with a significant portion of energy usage in commercial buildings attributed to building systems, particularly air-conditioning. Hence, building systems can play a crucial role in energy conservation by optimising their operation, harnessing renewable energy sources for greater self-sufficiency, and contributing to grid stability through demand response mechanisms.

The consortium said that building systems play a pivotal role in addressing the pressing societal challenge of the green transformation by the continuous monitoring of indoor conditions and equipment status using high-resolution sensors, coupled with comprehensive emulation and digital twin systems, synchronised with real-world conditions. These efforts are essential for human-centric environments, reducing CO2 emissions and costs, and influencing behaviour change, it added.

Traditional building systems, often implemented as isolated products, have hindered holistic studies. However, through the emulation capabilities, the programme can facilitate the creation of diverse services and algorithms and generate training data for AI, accelerating the transition to smarter buildings. This will also serve as a catalyst for establishing new businesses that drive societal transformation. Through the initiatives undertaken, the organisations will work towards enhancing the value of smart building systems that cater to diverse needs and explore new markets.

Moreover, they will highlight their commitment to constructing and institutionalising an innovative academic framework for smart building systems, providing a solid foundation to support the ongoing development and deployment of highly skilled professionals in building and managing smart building systems.

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