Tag Archives: #LivingLab

Can Your Green Building Rub Off On You?

By Lara Anne Hale.

  • How can the standardization of green default rules influences those living in or working with buildings?
  • Both the green and performance gap can be bridge through choice architecture within building infrastructure, thus facilitating sustainable consumption.
  • Counter to prior literature on default rules, my research finds that one key aspect of how design affects people is through awareness.

Approximate reading time: 2-3 minutes.

The Green Gap and the Performance Gap
There has been a wealth of research into sustainable consumption suggesting that individuals may value protecting the environment, but then not make green purchases, known as the “green gap” (Barbarossa & Pastore, 2015; Johnstone & Tan, 2015; Gleim & Lawson, 2014). At the same time there is a discrepancy between the way green buildings are built to energetically perform and how they perform in reality, known as the “performance gap”. Theorists, practitioners, and policy makers alike have sought to tackle the green gap with choice architecture, designing the way choices are framed to increase the likelihood of some choices over others (including choosing green products over standard ones) (Thaler & Sustein, 2008). And in recent years, there has been a demonstrated shrinking of the performance gap when learning from buildings as they are used, and then using these learnings to improve building performance predictions (Menezes et al., 2012). But what if these two strategies came together?

Closing the Gaps: Design for Awareness
As outlined in my recently published article “At Home with Sustainability: From Green Default Rules to Sustainable Consumption” (Hale, 2018), choice architecture within building infrastructure can be the starting point to sustainable consumption; and buildings designed this way can work towards reducing both the green and performance gaps. The article examines the building demonstration projects using the Active House standard and how the standardization of green default rules – choice architecture that sets the default choice for settings, such as temperature, lighting, water pressure, etc. (Sunstein & Reisch, 2013) – influences those living in or working with the buildings. Counter to prior literature on default rules, the research finds that one key aspect of how the design affects people is through awareness. By experiencing the Active House buildings and then later experiencing a contrast in a different built environment, they gained an appreciation for the conveniently designed way with which the buildings helped them to live better and consume fewer resources.

 

From green defaults to sustainable consumption through standards (Hale 2018)

A “Learning by Living” Approach to Sustainable Consumption
These positive effects work both ways. On the one hand, the very real impact of living in a sustainable home can generate an interest in seeking a green lifestyle in broader ways. For example, while living in one of the demonstration homes named Maison Air et Lumière, the Pastour family’s youngest child did not experience asthma attacks and was even able to stop taking his medication. However, upon moving back to a standard house, his attacks resumed. This poignant change in their child’s health drove the Pastour family to testify for the significance of sustainable living (Pastour, 2013). On the other hand, the standard makers learn from the experiences of those living in the demonstration buildings and can adapt and improve upon the building projections so that there is a better match between expectations and reality, and so that the buildings are better designed with people at the center.

Maison Air et Lumière. Pic by Adam Mørk for VELUX.

Altogether there are promising avenues for combining choice architecture and sustainable building design that make more healthy, comfortable indoor spaces for people, while basically offering a “learning by doing”…or “learning by living” approach to sustainable consumption.


Lara Anne Hale is an industrial postdoc fellow with VELUX and Copenhagen Business School’s Governing Responsible Business World Class Research Environment. The 3-year project is part of Realdania’s Smart Buildings & Cities cluster within BLOXHUB’s Science Forum. It builds upon her PhD work on experimental standards for sustainable building to look at the business model innovation process in organizations’ adaptation to the smart building business. Follow her on Twitter.
 Pic by Kate Ausburn (Unsplash), edited by BOS.

Bold Businesses wanted for transformative Deep Retrofit – The CBS Student and Innovation House

By Kristjan Jespersen and Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen.

We live in times of change. Society is quickly evolving in every aspect, facing us with global ecological, economic, human and social challenges. To overcome these perils students must play a key role in formulating and developing the necessary solutions needed to curb these complex future challenges. Its is crucial that, during their studies, students are given the tools needed in a thriving, thought-provoking and ambitious framework in which they can question the status quo and develop world-class innovations with long lasting impact.

Why student engagement matters

The Copenhagen Business School (CBS) has a longstanding tradition of such student engagement. Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are actively engaged in various ways (internships, community service learning, entrepreneurship, student organisations, research, etc.) with many communities outside the campus. While many activities are formally initiated through university associations, the vast majority of activities are initiated independently. Students build upon the lessons learned in the classroom with such real-world experiences.

The quickly developing student initiative of creating the CBS Student and Innovation House (SIH) builds upon this already established momentum. Emerging from the vestiges of Frederiksberg’s old police station it wishes to solve the grand challenges of our time in a hitherto unseen collaboration between students, researchers, businesses and the public sector. It will challenge conventional thinking and give students the tools to translate their ideas into solutions while giving them the drive and courage needed to take responsibility for the positive transformation of the world we live in.
Central to the house is its engagement with sustainability as practices and outcomes. It aims to extend beyond narrow definitions and in the spirit of the house entail human and societal well being, as well as promoting sustainable practices in business, economics and society. It is intended to supplement existing activities with a set of specific programs to enable students to work with partners, to forge new initiatives and to inspire, support and promote sustainability activities both on and off campus.

The building

Names on the people in the picture are, from left to right, Anne Marie Larsen, Andreas Gjede, Jens Bonde, Christian Refshauge and Anne Katrine Vedstesen.
Names on the people in the picture are, from left to right, Anne Marie Larsen, Andreas Gjede, Jens Bonde, Christian Refshauge and Anne Katrine Vedstesen.

The foundation for the CBS Student and Innovation House is the 97 year old police station designed by the famous Danish architect Hack Kampmann’s, located in the heart of Copenhagen at Frederiksberg at Howitzvej 30. The building is a cultural and historical gem and forms part of an urban space with with a high architectural value. The building has more than 3,100 m2 plus an inward yard and large basement. The beautiful square with the water fountain and the  two colonnades in front of the house creates a peaceful space and ceremonial welcome. From the outside the building represents the students’ great grandparents’ traditional Danish resource: craftsmanship, while on the inside the building will be a testimony of today’s proud Danish resource: creative and smart minds, who dares to think innovatively and challenge conventional thinking.

Building this vessel will be no small feat. The students have to-date raised 52.5 million DKK and they have framed the project as a living laboratory for sustainability.

SIH – an interconnecting test bed for sustainability and innovation

SIH will treat this deep-retrofit project as an opportunity to implement, test, research, and teach sustainability, and in that way contribute directly to the significant transitions required to reach a sustainable future. The unique focus of the SIH’s approach would be its emphasis on the behavioural and business dimensions of the sustainability components and innovative approach to collaboration between private and public stakeholders and students.

To this end, the students propose a retrofit project that supports its sustainability objectives by:

  • Produces a world-renowned building project, that
  • Operates at the frontier of sustainability,
  • Is net positive in both human-well-being and environmental outcomes,
  • Produces a world-renowned building project, that operates at the frontier of sustainability,
  • Is net positive in both human-well-being and environmental outcomes,
  • Contributes directly to the health, productivity and subjective wellbeing of everyone in the buildings, and that
  • Directly supports and is reflected in the social innovation and community engagement activities that go on in the building and the campus community, including
  • An ongoing monitoring and social science research program, that offers the opportunity to implement, test, and teach sustainability,
  • A specific focus on the analysis of behaviour change,
  • The encouragement of innovation for societal benefit,
  • A strong focus on breaking down silos between students, faculty and society,
  • Partnerships with firms and organizations interested in sustainable building and neighbourhoods, that offer the capacity to build a regional scale living lab that focuses on the role of the business sector in the sustainability transition.
  • Exploring possible ways for integrating students drive and commitment in more informal learning ways, such as extracurricular projects, informal collaboration with researchers along with the possibility of internships and for-credit engagement with both on-campus and off-campus partners.

Invitation for collaboration

This project, however, cannot happen without the vision and mission of forward thinking companies, civil society organizations and municipalities desiring to push the limits of sustainability. The SIH calls on the builders, the technology providers, the municipalities, the consultants, the green building civil-society, the innovators and the start-ups to come together and devise the most innovative retrofit solutions for a project that will have lasting and scalable building opportunities. The students place a challenge at the feet of these stakeholders and invite them onboard this transformative task.

For more info, contact Anne Marie Larsen: annemarie@studenthouse.dk


Kristjan Jespersen is Doctoral Fellow at the Dept. of Intercultural Communication and Management at CBS and Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen is Co-Founder of the CBS Student and Innovation House.

Pic by Petra Kleis.

Merken

Merken

Universities as a Living Lab for Sustainability

By Jannick Friis Christensen and Kristjan Jespersen.

Thursday 25 August marked the beginning of Professor John Robinson’s adjunct professorship at CBS. To a packed full auditorium, he gave his inaugural lecture about universities as test-beds for regenerative sustainability with the clear advice for CBS: make sustainability a strategic priority.

The social contract between the university sector and society at large is shifting. It is no longer enough for universities simply to educate students and do research. That was one of the main messages that Professor John Robinson wanted to get across as he last Thursday gave his inaugural lecture as part of his adjunct professorship with the CBS Department of Intercultural Communication and Management.

A university or a business school such as CBS is increasingly expected to contribute directly to the big challenges faced by the society in which it exists and is financed. One such challenge is sustainability, and the world is – in the words of the professor – dying to engage with the university sector because it can do things that are hard to do elsewhere.

The reason for this is the shared set of characteristics of universities that make them uniquely qualified to play a living lab role in the sustainability transition, understood as encompassing both environmental and human wellbeing.

Besides educating and conducting research, universities are, by and large, single decision-makers with respect to a significant capital stock at an urban neighbourhood scale, consisting of multiple academic buildings, energy, water and waste systems, and student housing. Most importantly, universities have a public mandate and are, in a Danish context, public institutions, that can be more forgiving on paybacks, and long-sighted on returns.

No other societal institution has this mix of capabilities. Hence, the sustainability challenge is also an opportunity for universities to become test-beds for sustainability, treating their whole campus as a sand box to implement, test, research, and teach sustainability, and in that way to contribute directly to the significant changes required to reach a sustainable future.

CBS in particular has a unique opportunity due to the role of business in the sustainability transition. Professor Robinson, who shares the Nobel Peace Prize of 2007 for his work on the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change with Al Gore, talked right into the Public-Private Platform as such partnerships are needed to increase human as well as environmental wellbeing.

Such an approach, however, calls for a reframing of the sustainability agenda from being less bad to doing more good. This is what the professor refers to as regenerative sustainability. Instead of placing limits and constraints by telling people to cut back and reduce consumption; a net zero focus, which turns out not to be a super motivating agenda, his focus is on being net positive.

Treating sustainability as a strategic academic and operations opportunity, which was Professor Robinson’s advice to CBS, will not only help to fulfil the terms of a new social contract of responsibility between universities and society, but is also likely to have real benefits to the university in terms of partnerships, funding, not to mention recruitment of students, faculty, and staff.

Click here to watch the lecture.


Jannick Friis Christensen is Research Assistant at the Dept. of Organization and Kristjan Jespersen is Doctoral Fellow at the Deptartment of Intercultural Communication and Management.

Pic by Lise Søstrøm