Clever Little Cubes

As an organisation dedicated to inventing the future of theatre, it’s exciting to use our ongoing Capital Project and goal to be more environmentally sustainable to try out new technology…

I’ve been following Cubesensors since they first exhibited their ideas at the Launch Festival 2013 in San Francisco and their incredibly smart product caught my eye.

Simply place CubeSensors throughout your home or office, one in each room, and get a read on various factors that affect your health and well-being. Specifically, CubeSensors are equipped with seven different sensors measuring air quality, temperature, humidity, noise, light, weather pressure, and accelerometer.

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The small cubes connect wirelessly to a base station, providing live information on this range of factors affecting our environment.

For us, this seems to be a way to scratch the idea of a “Building Forecast Tool”: something we can use to actively monitor our building, and by building up data over time, be able to more accurately predict the likely temperature and conditions of our performance spaces, and therefore to inform audiences in advance of a show how they might best dress for their comfort.

As an organisation, of course we all like to be comfortable where we work and play, but recognise the limitations of maintaining this across such a large (and leaky!) Victorian building.  We will be adding insulation and improved heating over the next 18 months, but have made the decision not to rely on a Building Management System (BMS) – essentially, a controlled air conditioning and heating building-wide system.  Not only is it often the experience of orgnisations that it takes time to learn how most efficiently to operate a BMS, but the amount of additional ducting would be hard to hide and not detract from our beautiful heritage spaces.

We have chosen to continue as we currently operate, and to focus on heating or cooling individual spaces as naturally as possible, focussing our energies on those that are occupied.  This will require a large amount of coordination across operational staff and volunteers, and we hope that in developing our Building Forecast Tool, we will learn the effects on our internal environment from the weather outside and our activities within, allowing us to proactively warm or ventilate spaces. At the same time, as we might do at home, we may suggest audiences in colder weather should remember to dress warmer, and during a hot spell, bring a hand-fan or lighter clothing.

The first set of 6 Cubesensors will arrive with us during the next month, and it should be interesting working out how we can effectively use the data they provide to help us reach this goal.

Watch this blog, where I’ll be keeping you up to date on our progress, or join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtags #greenarts and #LTCgreen.

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