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Local Heating Sizzles with Occupants

Intelligent heating system uses localized warmth directed at occupants


Intelligent heating system uses localized warmth directed at occupants.

Goodbye central heating, hello local warming.

Large quantities of energy can be wasted trying to maintain consistent warmth across all areas of a building. Whether you have a lobby, atrium, or areas with only partial occupancy, it doesn’t always make sense to heat every corner of these high volume, low density spaces.

To address this source of energy waste, MIT researchers at the Senseable City Laboratory have developed an intelligent heating system called Local Warming. Using motion sensing and autonomous control, the prototype installation provides people with direct and localized warmth.

The system functions like a spotlight that can aim heat to a micro zone. An infrared energy beam follows the movement of occupants so they can be comfortably warm in an otherwise cold environment. This precision ensures that the inefficiencies of ambient heating are avoided all together.

A working model can be experienced at the Venice Architecture Biennale and is directed at visitors walking up to an exterior entrance. This outdoor application provides the ability to manipulate unenclosed environments in an efficient manner and subsequently blurs the architectural boundary between interior and exterior. When thought of as a responsive environment, the system exhibits a smart, data-driven, and personalized form of climate control.