Construction of the smart living lab’s own dedicated building in Fribourg is set to begin in 2020. This multidisciplinary living laboratory will serve as a catalyst of progress, providing fertile ground for carrying out work in real conditions. The new building should encourage rigorous investigation and lateral thinking thanks to its range of facilities for different types of research activity. 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.

Even after its construction is complete, the building will continue to evolve to aid research, improve its performance, maintain its longevity, and maintain its place at the forefront of innovation. Its technical components will therefore be replaceable, and its spaces will be flexible enough to be adapted for different uses.
A number of sensors will be used to measure different parameters linked to energy consumption, environmental quality, and how spaces are occupied. This constant monitoring of the building will provide data for a numerical model, which has two fundamental aspects:

  • Monitoring research results: the work carried out will be subject to regular post-occupation assessments, which should provide proper feedback to verify that the target energy performance levels have been reached.
  • Input for research tasks, so that the researchers can devise new experiments in the building on a “plug and test” basis.

The experiments carried out in this experimental building will include:

  • using technology for human-building interactions in order to optimize user comfort, productivity, and resource consumption.
  • replacing building components to measure their properties and performance.
  • testing energy production and storage systems in real conditions to determine which are the most efficient.

The building will satisfy some unique ambitions. Its design process has been the subject of careful consideration, so that the different actors concerned can be involved at the appropriate time, thus providing:

  • integrated results from preliminary environmental research
  • responses to the needs of researchers and other users
  • high architectural quality
  • respect for the appropriate legal and financial framework

Operational transition
The building construction process that has been established comprises three phases: the call for project proposals, the implementation study, and construction. A number of programming requirements have been identified for the researchers: office space, laboratories, and meeting space. From an urban planning perspective, the siting of the building respects the new cantonal land use plan, which came into force in the summer of 2018. These various elements, together with the recommendations and tools that came out of the research program, have been consolidated in the Mandat d’Études Parallèles (MEP) tender document published on the simap public procurement platform in September, 2018 (application deadline: 26 October). The winner and the preliminary draft will be unveiled at the end of June, 2019.