Sourcing data and information on green building systems and technologies is a bit harder than running computer simulations and analyzing test tubes. To get good data, you have to build it and test it under real-world conditions - which is why researchers in Switzerland are creating a modular plug and play building to test out sustainable systems, materials, and technologies. NEST will be a dynamic demonstration platform where researchers can insert and test various components building modules, renewable energy systems and much more. Construction on the backbone of the project is set to begin soon, and the Swiss researchers hope to begin testing out their theories by 2015.
NEST is a collective research project by the ETH Domain that is supported by Empa, Eawag, ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Supermanoeuvre ETH Zurich, and EPF Lausanne. The project consists of a central backbone and a basic grid that can accommodate about 50 living and office modules that can be periodically changed out. The multi-story project will be built out of lightweight and efficient materials to reduce resource consumption while maximizing building potential and strength. The plug and play capabilities will allow novel materials, new components and innovative systems to be tested out under real-world conditions.
Researchers can analyze the systems while tweaking settings to improve efficiency and then build brand new modules when systems are optimized. The building will also have the ability to support renewable energy systems to generate power for the project and validate efficiencies. When the infrastructure is completed in 2015, the project will be used for studies as well as to provide residences for visiting researchers and other important guests.
Images ©EMPA, Gramazio & Kohler 2013