RYM INDOOR: Good results through quick demo projects

Strong showing of Indoor Environment Program at sector top event

2014-03-19 • RYM Oy
The Indoor Climate Seminar conducted by the Indoor Climate Association and Aalto University HVAC Research Group is the biggest construction sector training event in Finland. This year more than 1300 experts from the fields of construction, property management and health care attended. Several introductory speeches made reference to RYM and its Indoor Environment Program.- The four-year research program is now more than halfway through and set goals are being reached – despite being ambitious by design, said Professor Risto Kosonen, Chairman of the Indoor Environment Program Steering Group, in his introductory speech.

The fact that this SHOK instrument is new and unproven has posed an extra challenge. All involved have had to familiarize themselves with it. The aim of this industry-led program is to develop new solutions to create global business and discover new export opportunities related to the indoor environment.

– This is not a product development program, but a research program assessed by TEKES e.g. based on scientific publications. So far, we have produced 150 articles, 20 development projects and four EU-level projects. An international assessment also found the results good.

The Indoor Environment Program aims to investigate fully e.g.
–          how people experience indoor environment conditions
–          how a good indoor climate can be created while aiming for zero energy buildings
–          what is the business logic of a good indoor environment

The four work packages of the program involve 25 key sector companies and the major research institutes. The work packages will carry out several projects networked with each other within and between packages. The total budget of the research program is about €20 million.

User experience-based metrics for a good indoor environment

A good indoor environment is easy to define and describe, but its measurement is another story. Engineering sciences have always been good at measuring millimetres, kilojoules and watts, but perceptions of well-being must be assessed by other means.

– We have developed the so-called 6T model which enables assessing the performance of a property based on experience. The results are extremely promising and development of the model continues, Kosonen explained.

Kosonen - RYMSY_esittely0016

A major focus of the program is thermal comfort and development of different models. Tools for modeling and design have been developed that allow devising a better indoor environment already at the design stage.

To what extent does the indoor environment determine the value of a property? – Research on renovation at Aalto University indicates that it can increase value quite significantly in some cases. In new construction the odds are even better and the potential benefits much greater, Kosonen continued.

Decision making is slow in construction and property management. Practical implementation of new ideas takes long. That is why the Indoor Environment Program has studied and experimented with a quick operational model and various small-scale demo projects. The results have been excellent.

– Demo projects need not be large and expensive. It often suffices to run an experiment on a single space. The results are available immediately and can be evaluated and developed further, Kosonen stressed.

Kosonen is convinced that a good indoor environment energizes, inspires, helps manage various tasks as well as supports social networking thereby improving cooperation.

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