MIT Creates Personalized Alternative to Heating Entire Buildings

Achieving energy efficiency with “Local Warming”

MIT News, June 10, 2014

MIT researchers have developed a system that creates personalized climates around individuals. The project, called “Local Warming,” uses WiFi-based motion tracking and ceiling-mounted dynamic heating elements to target a single person and create a precise personal climate around occupants of a building. As a result, each person is kept comfortable while the space around them is maintained at a lower temperature — saving energy. The Local Warming technology is making its debut at a biannual architectural festival that opens on June 7, 2014, the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.

“Today, a huge amount of energy is wasted on heating empty offices, homes, and partially occupied buildings,” says Professor Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT Senseable City Lab, which led the project. “The technologies underlying Local Warming could address this by synchronizing climate control with human presence, vastly improving the energy efficiency of buildings.”

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