How big is the ecological footprint of our school? And what can we do to reduce it?
A school building is usually large in terms of volume. Therefore, it can offer training to many students at the same time. Students are taught in heated or cooled classrooms. They can also study in peace in the library. This means that a school building offers a high level of learning comfort. This learning comfort requires a powerful heating system, good internet, electricity (for lighting and computers) and water (toilets and showers). Students and lecturers need to come to and from the school. That transport requires substantial energy and contributes to the ecological footprint of the school. The question we ask ourselves is how big this ecological footprint is and what we can do to reduce it.
What we want to achieve
The researchers from the research group Sustainable Transport want to monitor this ecological footprint. With the aid of thesis and job students, the researchers have designed instruments that can measure energy loss and consumption. We want to use these instruments to convert our school building into a Living Lab. A Living Lab is a living laboratory where the behaviour of the users of the school building is studied. At the same time, these users design techniques to analyse their own behaviour even better.
Measurement methods we have developed
The Living Lab project aims to develop multiple measurement methods to study the behaviour of students and staff that affects the energy loss and consumption of the school. Below you will find a list of measurement methods that we have made:
- A measuring network that monitors temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and particulate matter in and around the school building
The measuring box monitors temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and particulate matter. Our goal was to develop the cheapest possible measuring box that is still sufficiently reliable. The heart of the device is a NodeMCU. You will find these measuring boxes at several places in and around the school building. We want to use these measurements to map the thermal behaviour of the building and the behaviour of its users. It allows us to take measures to reduce the ecological footprint of the school building. You participate in our research through your presence in our school.
- A measurement system that monitors the position of students and staff when they go to and from school
Download an App on your phone and have your position monitored when you come to and from our school. This information helps us determine the impact of your transport on the ecological footprint of the school. You can stop the App whenever you want. The collected data is anonymous.
- A survey that asks students and staff about how they experience thermal comfort in classrooms and how they get to and from the school.
We want to know what contribution you have on the ecological footprint of our school. For this we have created a survey. The survey asks how you feel in the classrooms (thermal comfort) and how you come to our school. Participate and complete the survey! Your contribution is anonymous but crucial.
The team of researchers received help from several thesis students. The following theses have played a major role in the development of the Living Lab:
- Frederick Van Peteghem, Ontwikkeling van een prijsvoordelig PM Meetsysteem, master scriptie, Hogere Zeevaartschool, Antwerpen, 2019
- Arthur Wouters, Realisatie van een draadloos Arduino-based monitoringsysteem van een elektrische installatie, bachelor scriptie, Hogere Zeevaartschool, Antwerpen, 2020
- Boris Rappe, Het bouwen van een meetstation voor het accuraat meten van weer en luchtkwaliteit op de HZS, master scriptie, Hogere Zeevaartschool, Antwerpen, 2020
Would you like to know more about this project or would you like to contribute to the further development of our Living Lab project? Then contact
- Olivier Schalm
- Werner Jacobs