Hybrid Physical + Digital Spaces for Enhanced Sustainability and Wellbeing


Hi I’m James Landay from Computer
Science and today I’m going to present to you a vision of the future of built
spaces along with my co-PI Sarah Billington from Civil and Environmental
Engineering. Many Americans are overstressed. They’re overweight. They’re
unmotivated. They’re wasteful. They’re unhappy and many feel isolated in their
workplaces and in their schools. Many have these afflictions that I mentioned
in the built environment. In fact, we spend 87 percent of our time in homes
and offices according to the EPA. Imagine the worst room you’ve ever spent time in.
How did it make you feel? For me that room was in graduate school. If my office
was all cinder block walls with no natural light, no windows. It was oppressive and it was depressing and I wanted to drop out and I almost
did and now I know why. Maybe you haven’t had that experience but let me give you
an example imagine Kate in this office. It’s noisy. It has lots of unnatural
light. The furnishings are artificial. There’s no sense of nature in it. It’s
hard to get worked on here and feel good. These features of that environment have
physical, psychological, and social impacts on Kate. Kate feels stress,
anxiety, and distraction. These outcomes don’t end here on her body and mind. Her
own performance suffers. These issues also impact the way that she has and the
way she collaborates with others. This impacts the organization’s finances.
This impacts the way people waste resources and it even impacts the
cultural norms of the organization. These organizational outcomes also have impact
in terms of our larger society so our economy, our environment, our health, and
well-being. Now it might seem hard to believe that buildings have this big of an
effect. Let me give you a concrete example. Let’s just look at absenteeism
which is a large problem that costs US companies 226 billion dollars per year. Now most of this is likely due to long hours, low pay, and a lousy boss, but the
type of environment, the type of office also has impact. One study indicated that
an office like Kate’s that lacks nature leads to up to 10% of this absenteeism. If that was true in general that would be 23 billion dollars in the US every
year and even if the impact was just a couple of percent it would still be
several billion dollars. So our framework really is that building features not
only impact the individual but also impact the organization and society
as a whole. I really like this quote from Churchill because it gives the potential
for the impact. Buildings shape us. What if instead we could design buildings that
shape us in positive ways and keep shaping us and improving over time. We’re
going to show you a video here that we’ve created that gives a vision of one
possible future. Imagine an office in the future were a
digital ambient wall encourages a team to get more exercise. By taking the
stairs instead of the elevator while saving the building energy or where we
could personalize the temperature for different individuals so some aren’t too
cold and some aren’t too hot or that we could actively cancel noise so that open
floor plan offices aren’t so disruptive to work in or where we can detect the
stress of a worker and adapt the space to have more natural scenery. Lower the
lights and improve the music and reduce their stress Or imagine if we had digital art built
into the windows to encourage people to meet others they haven’t met before or even to go outside. Thank you. So how
do we get to this future? This is a vision of a world where buildings
and people are together and shaping each other in positive ways– shaping our
outcomes positively. So how do we get here? What we have to first look at what we already know. So we know on the flip side
of what James presented about the lack of nature, we know that greenery actually
has positive impacts so for instance it can improve mood. It can also lower blood
pressure and it lowers heartbeat and it’s been showed to increase mental
engagement. We know things like daylighting can lead to better concentration and also increased productivity. We also know
that social engagement and social inclusion can reduce stress but what we
don’t know is how buildings might impact social inclusion. So we have actually done
some preliminary work to look at just this. We did an online study that had 304 participants– half men, half women. What we did was we
showed them a series of pictures and we said imagine that you’re starting a new
job and the pictures you’re seeing are depicting the spaces and the decorations
of your new workplace. We then asked them about sense of belonging, self-efficacy
and environmental efficacy. Across the board with one exception we saw significant increases in all three outcomes with natural
materials, natural light, and diverse representations. This was really exciting
especially the part about belonging because we do know that diversity can
increase innovation and also company revenues and we hadn’t seen this before with the sense of belonging that now we can see buildings may
actually impact this issue. So we’re onto something. We’re not the only ones though
there is a nascent well building movement. These are three examples–
they’re like lead they’re checklists, but how do we know that they’ve gotten it
right? Because most of the studies that this
well building movement are built on are small-scale. They’re short-term. Typically limited populations and they’re also typically self-report. Sort
of before or after surveys so we really need to fill in the pieces of this
puzzle and take an integrated and scientific approach to answering this
question of how can we support well-being with our buildings? So how can
we do this? Well we can listen to Lord Kelvin who said “when you cannot measure
it, you have scarcely advanced to the stage of science.” What do we have to do?
We have to measure it. But to measure it what we’re going to do is establish the
science– the underlying science and we’ll establish the science at large scale and over longer periods of time
and in real environments. So we’ll do this with developing technology and
running experiments where we can systematically vary the
building features. At the same time, we need to understand user constraints because there are definitely
issues here around privacy, security, consent, and control but once we’ve
established the causal relationships we can then begin to design interventions
and adaptations that will both support and amplify the positive impacts that we
identified. So I’m going to let James talk about some of the details So first is where are we going to run
this research? So we’ll start out here at Stanford in our laboratories and we like
that because we have better control over the situation in terms of allowing us to
systematically vary building features as we test the outcomes but what we’re
really excited about is the potential to run both lab studies and field studies
with our industry partners Google, WeWork, and View and by running studies over
weeks and eventually months in these environments, we’ll be able to see how
well our results hold up over time in more realistic conditions with a broader
variety of building occupants. WeWork is especially exciting because their whole
business is about designing buildings that people
want to work in and they have said they will let us deploy technology in their
beta floors where we can test it with customers who have opted into this. The
building features that we’re going to use to test our views to nature, airflow
variability, the representations of diversity, living walls, and water
features and when varying these features we’re going to measure five key outcomes:
stress, belonging, creativity, physical activity, and environmental behavior. How
are we going to do this? We start with self-report but moving
beyond the simple surveys that they’ve done in the past, we will use experience
sampling method where we show people short surveys periodically throughout
the day and many researchers have shown that techniques like ESM can reliably
measure things like stress. We can also use all those building sensors that are
being put into these new buildings for sustainability reasons and from these
sensors we can tell things like how many people are in a room or how much garbage
or recycling has taken place. And then finally we’re going to take advantage of
getting a lot of our data from the really powerful personal sensors that
everyone’s carrying with them and wearing today. Our phones, our smart
watches, and our laptop computers and we can get at physical activity and
physiological sensing from these. By triangulating our ESM, our building
sensors and the data from personal devices will have a really strong basis
to make conclusions about how building features that we are systematically
varying are causing outcomes that we are measuring. Let me give you some
examples so back here Kate in her new office, it has lots of daylight and
access to nature to measure her sense of belonging we can use the occupancy
sensor to know how many people are around. We can use non speech based
conversational sensing from her phone to detect affect. We have experienced using
this along with machine learning to tell whether she is having positive
social interactions all while maintaining the privacy of her actual
words. These two measures along with the ESM data help us triangulate in
her sense of belonging. We can do similarly for measuring environmental
behavior asking ESM about our environmental efficacy, using building
data about a recycling, and using our watch to know whether she’s taking the
stairs or taking the elevator. Most of the technology we’ll use is off-the-shelf. We may need to reimplement some algorithm and as we progress we’ll implement and invent new technology as needed. So one issue that we’re concerned with and we are taking
very seriously is privacy, consent, and control. With this type of data, it’s
highly personal and it’s potentially sensitive, so this is really important to
have both a non-technical and technical approach to privacy and security and
rather than just saying hey we’ll secure and maintain your privacy, this is an
actual research agenda for us. So some of the questions we are concerned with is
how do we assess people’s comfort level with collection of data? How do we allow
them to express their privacy preferences? How do we allow people to
see their data and delete it? And finally let’s secure the data and restrict
analysis and queries on a need-to-know basis. And once we have the causal
relationships, we will be able to begin designing adaptations that can support our
well-being. Some of these adaptations include
physical adaptations like modular green walls where we can move the greenery
where we want it or where we need it We’ll also look at natural ventilation. This can improve indoor air quality but the temperature is hard to control. By
combining natural ventilation with modular green walls, we can better manage that temperature. We’ll look at digital adaptations such as large public ambient
displays– also on personal devices. So imagine here– the petals are
different colors that are representing the energy use of different workgroups
in the building While we are designing adaptations we will then begin to release the platform to other
researchers– to practitioners and other researchers to use to integrate in new
construction and altogether we can begin measuring long-term adherence and
impact. So this is a lot. It’s a lot to do. A lot of stuff. Where we see our project fitting in is here at the three year project getting
up to beginning the design adaptations So establishing the science,
understanding user constraints, and beginning to design those adaptations. So
what will success bring? Success will bring a lot of new collaborations. We
have a big team shown here and we represent expertise both faculty, staff– academic non-academic– across all seven schools and we
represent expertise in buildings shown in orange here and in computers in blue
in privacy and security and purple and people in green . Second we will have more
definitive results on how building features impact at least three of the
five well-being outcomes that we’re investigating and most importantly we
will have established the underlying science, the engineering infrastructure,
and the methodologies that will allow others to build on our work and to learn
more. Through all of this, we will be creating a built environment where
humanity can not only thrive but flourish. Thank you. So do you want to
also measure say the biological exposures because it suggested
that filtered air is not as good as others so you might see what kind of
microbiome and other pollen and things that people are exposed to is
that part of all of this? Definitely. We had planned on things like CO2. That has definitely been shown that with higher CO2 levels, your
cognitive function goes down remarkably actually. I hadn’t actually really
thought about pollutants but indoor air quality is something that we’re
interested in and I would say that definitely we’re tracking that and when we do this on campus a lot of the buildings are really
well outfitted with all sorts of sensors so we would use those. It’s a great
point. Thanks. Thanks really interesting. There’s a huge
potential here for new buildings but I wonder what you think about retrofitting
and the challenges and opportunities there for older buildings in this space. So I’ll start it then. Maybe Martin wants to chime in. I think a lot of
these things actually can be done in old buildings for sure in terms of
retrofitting. You’ve been on campus for keeping some of the
old architecture on the outside and doing completely new things on the
inside so I don’t really see that as such an issue particularly older
buildings actually were kind of greener. It might be easier to do some of the things
around natural ventilation. Some of the stuff are things we had added too. Like some of the green features and some of the features in terms of the sensing and how it might
encourage behavior in different ways, we can do. We will also have the scientific
basis to understand the relationship between different groups of people what
they do into building features and I think in that sense we can rethink how
we use all buildings and position the activities and groups of people were an
old building will be most productive for them. So I’ve never been in this room
when the windows and the shades have been open so here we have a great room
which is designed to do exactly what you’re talking about right? Bring in ambient light. I’ve never been here they’ve always been
closed and I understand why because the projection facilities don’t allow. So
you’ve been focusing a lot on the buildings themselves but it seems like
one of the biggest problems one of the biggest impediment to us using buildings
that are designed perhaps along the lines that you’re thinking is that the
staff that goes in the buildings is not amenable so projection facilities,
screens, computer screens are all reasons why we close the windows because we
can’t see otherwise. What focus will be said on what goes in the buildings
besides the buildings themselves? Well my answer really to that act is the
one of our partners is View Inc and they address exactly that.
In terms of that specific question of the glare and the computers and things
because they have dynamic glass and so the dynamic glass can automatically
shade and it gets down to we have a representative here on our team but I
think it’s not opaque but 95 percent of light
blocked and so that’s one example dynamic glass that would help with
those things, but for sure that’s all part of the user experience.
I would also add that when I started as an academic we had to close the blinds,
turn off the lights– all of this to get projectors and in most of my conference
rooms now with large LCD displays, we don’t even touch the lights or the
windows so I think it’s changing. An additional obstacle to people actually
modifying the environment is that they don’t feel empowered to and so a lot of
the modifications that we’re proposing are modular and things that are at human
scale that you don’t have to have a special access code to change them and
so in addition to building the environment to be modifiable we’re going
to also try to help people recognize that they can modify it. What
we see today from a sort of building design and construction perspective is
you see this incredible separation between the users occupants of a
building and organizations have managed them but like us like SoE, the
people that operate the buildings like we have them on the team so in that
sense we represent ourselves actually as a study participants if you want and
then you have the people operating the building like Cherry Hamilton’s group and
in doubles on campus they have done a fantastic job and then the people that
design and build it but today they are operating in silos largely and I think
because we don’t have the priorities. What are the really important
things to pay attention to that could bring those groups together from the
early stages of a building project through use and then adaptation
and reuse. We don’t have the science for it which is
crazy right frankly in 2018 and that’s what we should do as a university
contribute that science so that the rest of the world
can bring those three silos metal together. Thank you very much
for the presentation.

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