Sarah Billington | Hybrid Physical & Digital Spaces

Monday, November 25, 2019 at 12:30pm to 2:30pm

Building 7, 429
77 MASSACHUSETTS AVE, Cambridge, MA 02139

Building Technology Group Fall 2019 Lecture Series
Monday, November 25th, 2019
12:30 PM
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Hybrid Physical & Digital Spaces
For Enhanced Sustainability and Wellbeing

People in wealthy nations like the United States spend 87% of their time in buildings. Although there are hypotheses about the effect of buildings on occupant wellbeing, the evidence is sparse and few of the hypotheses have been tested at scale or over time. “Smart buildings” today primarily focus on using basic sensing, feedback and control for energy savings, temperature comfort, and security. Buildings of the future should go beyond this to infer and support the mental and physical states of the occupants. A scientific approach to designing buildings for wellbeing can both create knowledge as well as improve the physical and mental health of large populations. With new knowledge of what aspects impact wellbeing, we can design digital and physical adaptations to support occupant performance and wellbeing while encouraging pro-environmental behaviors. Physical designs and adaptations to support wellbeing include for example, a range of cement-based, polymeric and natural materials to support biophilic design principles. An interdisciplinary team with expertise in architecture, structural and materials engineering, human-computer interaction, psychology, environmental behavior, and security, privacy and law is collaborating to develop a building information platform and design adaptations that promote both environmental sustainability and occupant wellbeing and that can be easily employed in building design and management. 


Sarah Billington is Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, the Milligan Family Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and a Senior Fellow with the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. She joined the faculty at Stanford in 2003 having previously worked as an Assistant Professor at Cornell University. She has been a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute since 2006. She received her B.S.E. with high honors in Civil Engineering & Operations Research from Princeton University with a certificate in Architecture Studies and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Her past research has focused on engineering sustainable, durable construction materials including both bio-based and cement-based composites. More recently her work is focusing on the impact of buildings and their materials on human wellbeing. She teaches a freshman seminar on structural engineering, introductory mechanics of solids, and graduate courses on building materials.

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