Holistic Monitoring of Indoor Environment

Foss, Sean Erik

Head of Department

Hauback, Bjørn Christian

Head of Department



The objective is to enable a local indoor climate control, by utilizing rapidly responsive materials (which store energy) and technologies in combination with wireless sensors network. In addition, the intelligent control system can be used to optimize the energy use for indoor climate control based on anticipated energy consumption, weather forecast, the disposal of renewable energy, electricity price or other factors.


Smart windows; A glazing that can adjust the solar and light transmittance intact with the solar radiation during the day and that significantly increases the thermal insulation of the glazing during the night by reflecting long-wave radiation back to the interior is very much needed. The development of such technology, smart windows, is one of our aims. An interesting possibility is the interaction of smart windows with the wooden panels. The heat transmitted by the glazing may “charge” the wooden panels locally by drying out the wood surface contributing to the indoor climate energy balance as a solar heat storage.

Holistic control system; We propose a new and radical take on indoor energy consumption and comfort. Until now, comfort has been viewed simply as a thermal one and has been expressed as a function of temperature and air movement. Moisture has been moderately treated in building facility until now. With the new possibilities for calculating interaction of temperature and moisture (hygrothermal), together with other climate parameters like e.g. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or solar gain, the comfort will be calculated more comprehensively. The visual comfort will be also crucial in this project.

Quick response by hygric surfaces; Wood absorbs and desorbs humidity in the air to seek equilibrium moisture content. This effect is especially rapid at the surface level. Recent research has shown the possibility
to include this water phase change effect in the energy balance of buildings. By using natural or forced variations in  the air humidity the wood surface either warms up or cools down dependent on if it releases or absorbs water molecules. This is a latent heat. The dynamic, latent heat coupled to other activities of climate influence, is still not studied. We plan to simulate and measure the effect given to provide energy savings. The material effect included in present standard energy calculations is the thermal mass. The thermal mass requires a temperature difference in the room to work. By using humidity and in addition the energy saving potential is expected to be equivalent to thermal mass potential. Potential hygrothermal energy gain will be quantified.

IFE is responsible for the subproject "Smart windows".
NTNU is project manager. Other partners in the project are University of Oslo (UiO), SINTEF and Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology.
The project is sponsored by the Research Council of Norway (Project no. 238848).