Collecting and analyzing data and information on green building systems and technologies is a bit harder than running computer simulations and analyzing test tubes. To get good data, you have to build it and test it under real world conditions, therefore researchers in Switzerland are creating a modular plug and play building to test out sustainable systems, materials, and technologies.
NEST is a collective research project by the ETH Domain that is supported by Empa, Eawag, ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Supermanoeuvre ETH Zurich, and EPF Lausanne. The project consists of a central backbone and a basic grid that can accommodate about 50 living and office modules that can be periodically changed out.
NEST without modules
NEST with modules installed
Not only living and working methods are explored in NEST, but also energy flows and supply equipment of the houses of tomorrow: the research modules are supplied from the backbone with water, heat, electricity and internet. In the backbone, the usage data of the individual modules can be recorded and evaluated.
Also, the project is used as a residence and office building, all modules are tested in everyday life and thus evaluated by real users. The energy usage of each module can be individually detected and analyzed. After the end of the research project, the module is removed from the NEST and replaced by a new module.
The building will be erected on the site Empa in Dübendorf near Zurich and is expected to be available early 2015.