Since 2015 the EPFL Fribourg has been housed at the Smart Living Lab, a research and development center for the future of the built environment, in the blueFACTORY innovation district. Construction of the Smart Living Lab Building is set to begin in the coming years in Fribourg. The building will be at the cutting edge of efficient resource use over its complete life cycle. Its construction comes 30 years in advance of Switzerland’s 2050 energy targets.

Smart Living Lab

The Smart Living Lab brings together the combined expertise of the EPFL, the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg, and the University of Fribourg in research areas such as construction technologies, well-being and behaviors, interactions and design processes, and energy systems. It conducts interdisciplinary research projects through experiments in real conditions involving both researchers and companies. This allows partners from the private, public and academic sectors who are interested in developing innovative projects access to excellent research facilities available at the heart of the Switzerland Innovation Park (SIP) Network West EPFL.

© 2020 Thomas Delley

Smart Living Lab's annual report 2020

— Welcome to Smart Living Lab's annual report for 2020, a year that saw our lives turned upside down by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This history-making crisis revealed our vulnerabilities as well as our resilience and suddenly redefined the way we live, work, and interact. On the one hand, it forced us to rethink our professional workspaces, in a context where remote working has been widely practiced. On the other hand, it shined a light on the importance of ventilation and air quality inside buildings. These are two of the Smart Living Lab research areas that were brought to the forefront during this time.

© 2021 Barbara Lambec, EPFL

Students build cabins with nothing but found materials

— Bachelor students from EPFL joined the Atelier popup, next to the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg, during the first week of May, as part of the ENAC week program. A group of 25 students was involved in the "Seconde-Main Constructive" ENAC week. The one-week goal of each team of 5 students was to design and build a cabin, with the trick that materials had to be reclaimed and freely obtained from the area. From conventional materials like wood or plastic sheets to more exotic, yet highly common waste products like louvers or drainage pipes, students had to pay attention to the functionality and stability of the cabin, as well as to its potential for mass production. To achieve their goal they could benefit from the very large panel of tools and technical skills available at the Atelier popup. A live demo concluded the week.

Brütting's modular system assembled near the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg © 2020 EPFL

Computational methods to ease the reuse of construction components

— Algorithms developed at EPFL can help architects to design building structures that incorporate both new and reused components, thereby lowering their environmental impact.

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