On-demand room

“The On-demand Room (FONDATION RENNES1 & IRISA)”

Several dwellings share the same room, which savesbuilt surface and, namely, heating and cooling energy. Information and communication technologies (ICT) allow appropriation by users thanks to customization, guarantee a fair use of the room and maximize the occupation ratio. The same room is located in different apartments: it is dynamically“plugged” into a dwelling or the other. This requires dynamically modifying the rights to control and receive information from the room’s equipment:appliances, HVAC systems, sensors, etc. This is done in a transparent fashion,so that off-the-shelf devices and appliances can be used.

“In many countries, including France, house-holds experience financial restrictions, while housing costs increase with the raise of real estate and energy prices. Novel initiatives and behaviors appear, like house-sharing, tele-working and longer stay of children in parents’ homes. Flexible housing is required to accom-modate these evolving needs. Existing solu-tions provide technical means to modify the dwelling layout or perimeter depending on me-dium- to long-term needs. However, built space and associated resources are left un-used in case of periodical or short-term fluctu-ations in use. Common rooms are sometimes used as a way to mutualize resources in the short term, including built surface, equipment and energy. However, the social housing ex-perience shows that these spaces happen to be monopolized by few occupants, left unused or repeatedly damaged.

The On-demand Room aims at saving space and energy in apartment buildings, while preserving resi-dents’ comfort and guaranteeing fair and re-spectful use. It consists in a space that is physically shared by a small group of apart-ments, but is assigned for the sole use of one or few particular ones at the time. The space actually becomes a new room of the dwelling: the access is direct and exclusive, while auto-matic customization of the indoor environment make occupants feel they did not leave their apartment at all. HVAC, lighting, digital deco-ration and even transformable furniture auto-matically adopt the preferred settings of occu-pants. Individual and secure storage is at their disposal during occupation. Automatic access control and room booking guarantee users pri-vacy and room availability. A fair use of the room is guaranteed by fixing thresholds of maximum occupation time per apartment.

Energy and water consumptions of the room are charged to the dwelling that actually gener-ates them. As part of the demonstration activi-ties, we realized a prototype of the on-demand room in an immersive interactive virtual-reality CAVE. By wearing 3D glasses and a marker on their hand, users can literally walk inside two apartments, which share an on-demand room. Occupants can open doors and observe how the configuration of the on-demand room changes to become a part of one dwelling or another. We also connected actual domestic appliances to the platform: we showed that a real light switch, located in the virtual on-demand room, can change its behavior and alternatively control one of the two real lamps, each located in one of the apartments. We are currently collaborating with a social landlord to prepare an experimentation of the On-demand Room in its social housing stock. This work is conducted as part of the chair “Smart Home and Innovation” at University of Rennes 1, funded by Cardinal Edifice, the Chamber of Commerce of Rennes, Néotoa, Rennes Mét-ropole and Veolia. Further information is avail-able at the address: https://fondation.univ-rennes1.fr/la-chaire-habitat-intelligent-et-innovation

Michele Dominici University of Rennes 1 & IRISA, France Michele Dominici is the holder of the chair Smart Home and Innovation at University of Rennes 1. He holds a PhD in computer science and an engineering degree. His research focuses on smart homes and was presented in international shows including Batimat and French press including Le Moniteur, Batiactu, Batinfo and Ouest France. He previously collaborated with EDF R&D on a research project aiming at realizing an energy efficient smart home.