At the smart living days, politicians, experts and the general public of all ages were asked to consider housing of the future

7-8 October 2016

The festivities were inaugurated by Mr. Beat Vonlanthen (Head of the Canton of Fribourg’s Department of Economic Affairs and Employment who also co-represents the Canton of Fribourg in the Council of States) Mr. Philippe Gillet (EPFL Vice-President), Mr. Jean-Nicolas Aebischer (Director of the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg) and Ms Astrid Epiney (Rector of the University of Fribourg), all of whom represent an essential partner of the smart living lab.

The discussions that followed covered the future building that smart living lab intends to build for its activities, inspiring examples of sustainable architecture and complex projects based on a winning participative and interdisciplinary methodology. The "crowd energy" concept, i.e. giving individual households the possibility of generating their own energy and exchanging or reselling it, was also discussed.

Smart living lab researchers also set up demos for the general public, including watt meters to measure power consumption of household appliances, suggestions on how building occupants can reduce their carbon footprints. There was even a water fountain-based simulation of housing thermodynamics.

The need for rapidly deployable housing solutions that are intelligent, functional, reliable and energy-efficient has become even clearer in view of recent humanitarian concerns. In fact, visitors learned how a shipping container could be converted into viable housing in the event of a disaster.

Optimizing space is not child’s play and yet researchers successfully asked young people to come up with their own ideas on how to transform the Fribourg area, moving livestock to higher pastures and elaborating densification strategies, which is a crucial concern in Switzerland.

Finally, the general public had the chance to discover the open area used for smart living lab experiments. This included a woodworking workshop and impressive sawing machines (a workshop to work with iron!).