dijous, 17 de maig de 2018

MOOC LOW3-ZERO LIVING: Third and last in-person meeting at the Living Lab

The third in-person meeting of our MOOC course LOW3-ZERO LIVING took place at our Living Lab. It served for an exchange about the Learning Modules and their content, and specifically to discuss the different exercises, the latest on energy certification and embodied energy of our homes.
The meeting also served for a first feedback on the student satisfaction, as the mixed online and in-person format of the course is quite innovative and still unusual for our university. Students expressed to be very happy with the course and that the combination of learning online and through the exploration of a real prototype building creates a unique learning experience. 
Regarding their personal learning environment, students mentioned that they use to course the weekly modules generally at home, some also at university, going through the whole thematic guided visit, specific knowledge clouds, and self-assessments in one single session. This helps to stay concentrated and get the most out of each Learning Module. Students mentioned that the course delivers very specific and useful information, going deeper than many other classes they receive, and that they would like to have access to this information also beyond the official end of the course, when information is needed e.g. for specific design projects (TAPs) they develop. Exercises related to their personal homes and individual lifestyles have been reported to be very motivating, but also very time intensive, proposing a recognition of 3 instead of 2 ECTS for the course.

During the break, some solar kitchen experiments allowed to experience the power of the sun at first hand, measuring the velocity and peak temperature of heating up water, some building material surface temperatures and reflecting about the geometry of solar radiation. Even the "Campus Cat" came for a visit, what ones more describes well the "domestic" and therefor more personal, non-formal learning environment of our Living Lab.

This third and last in-person meeting of our MOOC ended with an outlook on the holistic energy transition of our cities, projecting the Roadmap for Energy (R4E) specific Smart Urban Spaces Roadmap video and discussing its vision for 2050.)

Once finished this first experience with our MOOC, we will evaluate the experience, format and contents, and decide in which form the course will be offered during the next academic year.

CISOL-ARQBAG meeting at LOW3

Members of ARQBAG and CISOL met for an informal lunch at the Living Lab for interchanging ideas, getting known to each other’s recent projects, and fostering new initiatives between both teams. 
The recently presented “Fem Mataró” project is still pending of resolution, new international Summer Workshops and innovation seminars are planned for July, and besides maintenance and use issues of the Living Lab could be discussed.

The LOW3 Living Lab is just that, an example of a so-called “transition platform” at our university, where actors can meet in a non-formal environment for developing new ideas, initiatives and projects while strengthening personal relationships among people. Places urgently needed in any kind of institution in order to foster participatory bottom-up initiatives driven by its stakeholders.

dimecres, 9 de maig de 2018

CESBA MED - Sustainability Asssessment of Neigbourhoods

Based on our experience in sustainable architecture and lifestyle, and our collaboration as experts in smart buildings and smart urban spaces in the R4E project (www.roadmapsforenergy.eu) we have been invited by the Municipality of Sant Cugat and the Catalan Housing Ministry to participate in the experts committee of CESBA MED.
CESBA MED is an European Interreg Mediterranean Project with the aim to develop indicators of sustainability for the holistic assessment of neighbourhood performance. https://cesba-med.interreg-med.eu
The local CESBA MED Committee for Barcelona and Sant Cugat del Vallès consists of a mixture of experts from academia, research and industry, and aims to discuss, co-develop and validate the selection of local key performance indicators for the assessment of sustainability of neighbourhoods.

CESBA (Common European Sustainable Built Environment Assessment) is a collective European bottom-up initiative that provides knowledge on harmonised built environment assessment. It has the mission to facilitate the diffusion and adoption of sustainable built environment principles among all the stakeholders of the built environment sector through the use of harmonized assessment systems in the whole life cycle of the built environment. (www.cesba.eu)

dimarts, 8 de maig de 2018

Visit of Master Sustainability students to LOW3

Students from the Master Sustainability of UPC visited the Living Lab together with their professors Albert Cuchí and Anna Pagès for getting known to its concepts of sustainable architecture and its technological solutions.
Engineers, architects and specialists in materials discussed about the LOW3 concept, embodied energy of its materials, the buildings lifecycle, active solar systems, space use and flexibility and many other aspects which define nowadays the overall sustainability of a project. The Live-at LOW3 house occupation experiment, which formed part of their former Master program showed them the environmental impact evalutation of LOW3 under real conditions.
Finally students got introduced into the results of the Roadmap for Energy (R4E) project through the R4E Roadmap video about Smart Buildings, getting an impression about how buildings might develop in the mid and long run. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf3q-Od9TQ8)   

New Educational Visit - Escola Pia Sarria, Barcelona

ETSAV and its Living Lab received a new educational visit by 18 students and their supervisors of Escola Pia Sarria, Barcelona, from Barcelona, which spent half a day at our campus visiting and exploring the Living Lab LOW.
Students split up into four groups, exploring the solar house and its installations. Energy control and management, bioclimatic concepts and mechanisms, photovoltaic energy generation and the solar thermal installation have been centre of the explorations and measurements.
Due to the cloudy day our solar-cooked popcorn did not achieve the necessary temperature, but at least we gave it a try, experimenting with the concentrated power of the sun through the parabolic solar kitchen.
Living Lab LOW3 at the ETSAV campus at Sant Cugat showed once more its potential as tools for a holistic education regarding a more sustainable architecture and life style, offering a platform for exploration, measurement and discussions.

dimecres, 25 d’abril de 2018


Our MOOC has reached its "equator" having launched its first 3 Learning Modules, a week for Practical Exercises and a Forum Week for online discussion. 
In this second in-person meeting, students met again at the LOW3 solar house at our campus in order to get known even better our housing prototype, explore and discuss its concepts, materials and technologies, but especially to discuss the outcomes of the first Learning Modules and its Practical Exercises. 

Reduction Scenarios for our Ecological and Carbon Footprint have been discussed, concepts of a shared economy and especifically the posiblity of new forms of housing, based on shared resources, functionalities and spaces, so-called co-housing concepts have been discussed and explored.
Also the aspect of our environmentaly and socially critical consumption of food and goods as well as the necessary change of our mobility patterns have been raised.

As interesting result of the exercises it showed that the participants as a group currently have an average need of more than 3 planets (3.1) in order to sustain their lifestyle.
Nevertheless with the introduction of "easy to do" changes in their daily habits and behaviours (second round simulation) there seems to be a possibility to reduce this need to an average of 1.9 planets.
In a third round, with a "profound effort regarding changes in lifestyle and consumption patterns", the group showed the potential to live almost wtihin the limits of our planet, resulting in an average need of 1.1 planets.
Similar exercises have been done and discussed regarding the need for space. It showed that currently the group has available an average of 42.9 m2 per person at home, but with some ajustments they might be able to live with 33.2 m2, and in an advanced reduction scenario it might be possible to live with arround the half of what they have available today, namely 23.5m2. 

Overall objective of the MOOC is the transformative learning for a societal model and a personal lifestyle with less environmental impact by introducing into basic concepts of sustainability and disseminating the generated knowledge of the LOW3 prototype in the field of sustainable architecture and lifestyle. 
The Living Lab concept of our course with its in-person meetings combines in a unique way collective knowledge generation about available concepts and technologies, value discussion among students and individual behavioural change of the participants.


The Sustainable Lifestyle Accelerator (SLA) Project has started with an online conference meeting of its international members under the lead of D-Mat (Finland) and the Wuppertal Institute (Germany) as project leaders.

The project aims at mobilizing more than 5000 private households in seven countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland) to analyse and reduce their resource consumption and climate impact by behavioural change.

Objective is the development and implementation of sustainable Lifestyle tools (online and in-person) in private households in the partner countries through participatory stakeholder processes.

The Living Lab LOW3 project under the lead of Dr. Torsten Masseck has generated important knowledge in this field through its sustainble Lifestyle experiment "Live at LOW3" and will contribute to the implementation of the SLA Project in Spain in collaboration with local administrations and other public and private entities.

This international project with a duration of 3 years has received an overall funding of 1 Million Euro by the KR Foundation (Denmark).

dijous, 8 de març de 2018


After the start of our course last week, our MOOC students met the first time at the LOW3 solar house at our campus in order to get known to the housing prototype, explore and discuss its concepts, materials and technologies, as well as discuss about our MOOC online platform, the course structure and content as well as the opportunities and threats of this innovative form of teaching and learning.

Students showed to be very satisfied with the possibility to learn on their own pace, in the moments they decide, and in the place they feel comfortable. On the other side they agree on the importance of in-person meetings with the opportunity to discuss about the topics of the course. 
According to them, sustainable architecture in its widest interpretation, from construction and technology to energy performance and urban transformation, is still a pending lesson at ETSAV with much more subjects needed in order to acquire knowledge they consider essential for their professional future.

On the other side students are happy benefitting from a "2 in 1" course offer, learning about sustainable architecture and lifestyle and by the way improving their professional English. Erasmus students from Brasil, Finnland and Sweden agreed on the advantage of this combination.
After the first Learning Module about Sustainable Lifestyle, now Module 2 about Sustainable Housing Concepts will start.

divendres, 2 de març de 2018

MOOC LOW3-ZERO LIVING officially started

Our MOOC - Massive Open Online Course LOW3-ZERO LIVING has officially started these days.
After 2 years of preparation, we start our innovative teaching activity as elective course of the Department of Architectural Technology fully booked with 25 students.

Main objective of this MOOC course is to introduce into basic concepts of sustainability and to disseminate the generated knowledge of the LOW3 prototype in the field of housing and a more sustainable lifestyle.

We have developed a concept which combines an online course with 3 in-person meetings at our Living Lab LOW3 in order to enrich online teaching with personal exchange, exploration of our solar house and person-to-person discussions about the topics of the course.

The LOW3 ZERO LIVING MOOC works like a virtual Living Lab. Every module is based on a virtual guided visit and exploration of LOW3 enriched with so-called knowledge capsules about specific important topics which contain interviews with experts, short documentaries or presentations.
Each module is structured into 3 main sections: Guided Visit with corresponding knowledge capsules, Self-Assessment and a Practical Exercise.
The six learning modules of the course are focusing on Sustainable lifestyle, Sustainable housing concepts, Photovoltaic technology, Thermal technology, Materials and Water. Due to the modular concept or the course further modules might get integrated in future editions.

The first module, currently running, introduces into basic concepts of sustainability like biocapacity, the relation between consumption, environmental impact and economy, or the resources that we need to satisfy our habitational needs according to our lifestyle and type of housing we are living in.
With this first edition we will test our MOOC and receive valuable feedback by students for improvements before opening the course to the general public.

dimarts, 27 de febrer de 2018

Solar Decathlon Europe 2019 – Collaboration ETSAV-EEBE

ETSAV director Prof. Albert Cuchí and the UPC faculty advisors Torsten Masseck and Martì Obiols, visited the installations of the The Barcelona East School of Engineering (EEEB) on the new Diagonal-Besòs Campus of UPC, searching for possible collaborations for SDE 2019.

The ETSAV representatives met with the EEBE director Prof. Luis Miguel Llanes and his team, and got introduced to existing initiatives at the EEBE like the e-Tech Racing Formula Student Project, the Lego League team and others, with the aim of identifying common interests and formats of collaborations between architects and engineers in the current Solar Decathlon Europe competition. 
Recent developments in the fields of smart buildings and smart cities clearly enlarge the field of possible collaborations between the two disciplines with topics like decentralized renewable energy generation, energy storage, smart mobility, smart grids, demand-side management, user-building interaction, Internet of Things (IoT), and similar solutions and technologies which nowadays are searching for their place in our build environment.