MyGlobalHome 'Connected Living' Demonstrator
Start dateApril 2020
End dateSeptember 2022
The University of Surrey is working in partnership with MyGlobalHome to trial and demonstrate a state-of-the-art modular, smart home concept on the University campus. In addition to providing accommodation for our staff and students, the MyGlobalHome development provides the University with a set of physical ‘Living Labs’, where we can work collaboratively to better understand and shape the future of Urban Living.
This project relates to the University of Surrey ‘Living Lab’ initiative and the University’s Urban Living research theme.
MyGlobalHome’s concept is a state-of-the-art, sustainably-constructed, smart home. The internal space is modular and can be adapted to suit the occupier’s changing needs over time (e.g. by reconfiguring the layout via innovative ‘moving wall’ technology or by swapping prefabricated elements such as bathroom, study or gym). A central ‘Core’ provides not only a way of adapting its surrounding interior layout but an immersive, sensory space.
Each home incorporates a multitude of sensor and control technologies which enable the occupier to control all aspects of the home (e.g. heating, lighting, entertainment, security etc) whilst at the same time gathering information on how the home is performing (e.g. in terms of air quality, energy usage etc). This data is available to the occupier and can be used to support and enable usage optimisation and healthy, independent living. Furthermore, the technology can integrate with wider eco-systems including mobility, health, education and entertainment, linking the occupier to the wider community and smart-city technology.
For further information visit the MyGlobalHome website.
To date, MyGlobalHome have worked with the University of Surrey on two related Innovate UK funded projects, focused on transforming the construction sector.
Phase 1 (2018-2019)
This project, which was worth £1M with partner contributions, has led to the construction of a pilot demonstration of the MyGlobalHome modular living concept in the heart of the University’s Stag Hill campus. The development forms MyGlobalHome’s ‘Innovation Centre’ (commissioned in Spring 2021) and is an initial test-bed for their technology. It also provides a collaborative space for the University’s research community to work with MyGlobalHome on projects focused on the future of smart, modular living.
Phase 1 also comprised a series of research studies, undertaken by an interdisciplinary team of University of Surrey academics from Sociology (Professor. Gilbert; Dr Xenitidou), Psychology (Drs Hodgkins and Timotijevic), the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (Professor. Leach) and Civil and Environmental Engineering (Professor. Kumar and his team).
These studies were designed to investigate:
- The societal and ethical issues for designing a governance framework for deployment of responsible research and innovation ‘best practices’ within the construction industry for ‘smart homes’.
- Issues for designing best practices surrounding informed and implied consent within the field of data capture for smart homes.
- The state of the art in monitoring and modelling indoor air quality.
- The state of the art in energy systems for building-integrated generation and control.
Phase 2 (2020-2022)
This project, worth £7.9M with partner contributions, will lead to the construction of several smart homes on the University campus. This will include a mix of new-build and retrofit dwellings. The University is working with MyGlobalHome and its partners (Buro Happold, Beckhoff, Roomee and Supermassive UX) to provide an interdisciplinary package of pre- and post-occupancy evaluation studies, focused on:
- Assessing the physical performance of the smart home (in terms of indoor air quality).
- Social scientific studies of pre- and post-occupancy attitudes and behaviours, and societal risk perceptions.
- Studies designed to assess the factors that facilitate or inhibit the propagation of demonstrators into commercially viable products.
Both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects are yielding a legacy of state-of-the-art, digitally-enabled, buildings on our campus that can be utilised as ‘Living Labs’ for conducting research into the future of smart living.
- Phase 1 - £1m (including £622k from Innovate UK)
- Phase 2 - £7.9m (including £3.8m from Innovate UK)
End-user pre- and post-occupancy evaluations
Dr Chris Jones
Senior Lecturer in Social and Environmental Psychology
Dr Chris Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Social and Environmental Psychology, with particular interests in attitudes and behaviours towards energy and environment.
He gained his first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the University of Birmingham (1999-2002) before moving to the University of Sheffield to complete a Master’s degree in Psychological Research (2002-2003) and a PhD in Social Psychology (2003-2007). His PhD, completed under the supervision of Prof. J. Richard Eiser, focused on understanding more about the nature and process of attitude formation in novel environments.
Upon completing his PhD, Chris completed a 4-year post-doctoral position on the ‘Understanding Risk: Climate change and energy choices’ project (2007-2010). It was this multi-centre (Cardiff, Sheffield & UEA), multi-disciplinary project that first stimulated Chris’s research interests in public attitudes towards environmental change.
Following his appointment as Lecturer in Social and Environmental Psychology at the University of Sheffield (2011), Chris continued to develop these interests and developed two key strands of research: (1) Assessing attitudes and behaviour towards energy supply and demand side technology options; and (2) Assessing the factors that facilitate and inhibit the promotion of more sustainable lifestyles. The applied relevance of these topics has led Chris to develop a number of fruitful collaborations with academics in other disciplines, as well as a number of non-academic stakeholder groups (e.g. business and industry).
Chris joined the University of Surrey in the summer of 2017.
Alongside his research and teaching roles, Chris is the Impact Lead and the Employability Lead for the School of Psychology.
Dr Eleanor Ratcliffe
Lecturer in Environmental Psychology (Environmental Psychology Research Group)
I gained BSc and MSc degrees in Psychology from Goldsmiths, University of London, before completing my PhD in Environmental Psychology at University of Surrey in 2015. I then undertook two postdoctoral research positions: first in the Department of Psychology, University of Tampere (Finland), funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and second at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London (UK). In 2019 I returned to University of Surrey as Lecturer in Environmental Psychology.
As an environmental psychologist I focus mainly on restorative environments, place experience, and links between environment and wellbeing, including in the workplace. I also conduct research on consumer and user experience, especially with regard to improving perceptions and behaviours around goods and services. I am increasingly interested in links between consumer behaviour and sustainability. Before becoming a psychologist I trained in art and design, and I combine aspects of my work in environmental psychology with design thinking and research.
In the course of my work I have collaborated with a number of non-academic organisations, including the National Trust, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, the Cabinet Office, and Nestlé.
Professor Birgitta Gatersleben
Professor of Environmental Psychology (Environmental Psychology Research Group)
All human behaviour takes place in a physical environment. These environments have significant impact on the way people feel, think and act. At the same time people are constantly modifying their physical environment either consciously or not. My research studies these people-environment interactions. I am particularly interested in people's relationship with the natural environment and the link between environmental sustainability and human wellbeing.
Dr Charo Hodgkins
Research Fellow (Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre)
I started my career with GSK as a development chemist and then moved to Superdrug Stores PLC as Head of Technical Services. During my 14 years in industry, I gained extensive experience of managing technical and research projects within both branded and retail environments. In 2003, I joined the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre (FCBH) at the University of Surrey, a multidisciplinary research centre which brings together skills and expertise in order to address research questions on food related policy, consumer behaviour and public health. I have played an instrumental role in the success of the Research Centre, working on a wide range of collaborative, multidisciplinary UK and EU funded research projects.
I have a keen interest in the communication of health-related information on foods to consumers i.e. nutrition labelling and health claims, this being the focus of my PhD thesis. In addition, I have expertise in exploring the design and delivery of interventions and m-health solutions to improve quality of life and to promote self-management of illness and/or healthier lifestyles.
Policy relevance and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a cross-cutting theme across my research, and my work is aimed at both understanding the processes of policy making and contributing high quality underpinning research evidence on which to base future policies.
Dr Lada Timotijevic
Principal Research Fellow (Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre)
Having completed my PhD in 2000 (University of Surrey) in the area of identity processes in the context of social and cross-cultural mobility, I have subsequently worked within advertising industry (J. Walter Thompson). I joined the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre (FCBH) at the University of Surrey (Department of Psychology) in 2002, a multidisciplinary research centre which brings together skills and expertise from across the University in order to address research questions on food related policy, consumer behaviour and public health. Since my arrival, I have played an instrumental role in the success of the Research Centre, working on research projects of substantive theoretical and applied relevance. I work within the critical public health framework and my empirically-oriented work has focused on understanding the role and nature of public and stakeholder engagement and dialogue in policy and science, risk perception and governance, and science-policy interaction. Policy relevance is a key theme across my research projects, and my work is aimed at both understanding the processes of policy making, and contributing evidence on which to base policies. I am particularly interested in public health nutrition, sustainable diets and illness prevention.
Professor Nigel Gilbert CBE
Professor of Sociology (Department of Sociology)
Nigel Gilbert has a Distinguished Chair in Computational Social Science at the University of Surrey. He is Director of the Centre for Research in Social Simulation, Director of the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN), and Director of the University's Institute of Advanced Studies.
His main research interests are processual theories of social phenomena; the development of computational sociology and the methodology of computer simulation, especially agent-based modelling; and the development, appraisal and evaluation of public policies.
He read for a first degree in Engineering, initially intending to go into the computer industry. However, he was attracted into sociology and obtained his doctorate on the sociology of scientific knowledge from the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Michael Mulkay. His research and teaching interests have reflected his continuing interest in both sociology and computer science (and engineering more widely).
He is the author or editor of several textbooks on sociological methods of research and statistics and was the founding editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation as well as helping to establish the innovative online journal, Sociological Research Online.
Further details about Nigel Gilbert may be found in Wikipedia
Facilitating the roll-out the MyGlobalHome smart home
Dr Walter Wehrmeyer
Reader (Centre for Environment and Sustainability)
After studying economics and business administration in Marburg, Germany, I did an undergraduate degree in Development Studies, followed by a PhD in Industrial Environmental Management at the University of Kent. I joined the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES) initially as the BG Surrey Scholar in Risk Communication, focusing on engagement strategies towards contaminated land remediation and management. After the successful completion of this project, I have worked as Senior Lecturer and Reader in Environmental Business Management, of late looking at CSR and sustainability beyond 'environment'.
Air quality evaluations
Professor Prashant Kumar
Professor and Chair in Air Quality and Health (Global Centre for Clean Air Research)
Professor Prashant Kumar is Associate Dean (International) for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Chair in Air Quality and Health and the founding Director of the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) at the University of Surrey, UK. He is the Head of the GCARE’s Air Quality Laboratory and the Deputy Director of Research for the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Since March 2018, he is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Engineering at the Trinity College Dublin in Ireland.
He received his PhD (Engineering) from the University of Cambridge, and an MTech (Environmental Engineering & Management) from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. Prior to his PhD, he worked at a research instutute and in industrial sector for about 8 years. After his PhD, he joined University of Surrey as Lecturer (2009-2012), and subsequently worked as Senior Lecturer (2012-2015) and Reader (2015-2017).
His fundamental and application oriented crossdisciplinary research is focused at the interfaces of clean air engineering/science, human health and smart/sustainable living in cities/megacities. His research builds an understanding of the formation and emission of particles, both from vehicle exhausts and non-vehicular sources. He investigates their contribution to pollution, especially in megacity contexts. He is developing approaches to low-cost sensing and contributing to the development of exposure control technology and guidelines for policymakers to curtail pollution exposure in cities, with associated health benefits.
His current research projects are focused in broad multidisciplinary areas of air pollution monitoring/modelling, low-cost sensing, nature-based solutions, climate change mitigation and developing innovative technological and passive (e.g. green infrastructure) solutions for air pollution exposure control for both developing and developed world.
With over 210 articles in top-ranked journals (h-index 49; i10-index 133; citations >8500), his research has secured over £8 million of individual funding from the RCUK (e.g, EPSRC, ESRC, NERC, MRC, HEFCE, British Council, Innovate UK, Research England), industry and international funding bodies (e.g., European Commission, Qatar National Research Foundation, Commonwealth Commission, FAPESP). He has developed a network of collaborators across four continents, serving on editorial boards of several international journals and scientific evaluation panels of numerous funding agencies.
He is advising local/national/international agencies on air pollution and urban nexus and his research has featured in well-read media outlets such as the BBC and The Times.
Dr Hamid Omidvarborna
Research Fellow (Global Centre for Clean Air Research)
Dr Hamid Omidvarborna is a research fellow at the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), University of Surrey. Hamid’s research focus falls within air quality, air pollution monitoring, low-cost air pollution sensors, and citizen science activities. Hamid joined GCARE in January 2019 after a 2+ year’s appointment as Research Fellow at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Sultanate of Oman (Centre for Environmental Studies and Research (CESAR)), where he worked with Prof Mahad Baawain on different air quality projects in Muscat Governorate and nearby cities. Prior to joining SQU, Hamid spent 4+ years doing research during his PhD in the US under the supervision of Prof Ashok Kumar, where he worked on combustion chemistry of biodiesel fuels, a project supported by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). Hamid holds a Masters (and a Bachelor) degree in Chemical Engineering from Iran. Following the completion of his Masters and before leaving for the US, Hamid spent 2+ years working as a research and process engineer in two different industries. Details regarding the completed projects and publications can be found in Hamid’s LinkedIn account.
Dr Ana Paula Mendes Emygdio
Global Home Pilot Demonstrator Project Manager
Researchers from the University of Surrey’s School of Psychology and Department of Sociology have been undertaking a series of social scientific studies examining people’s perceptions and experience of smart homes, as well as their views on societal risk perceptions related to smart homes. Understanding both the benefits and challenges of smart home technologies is important given that their overall success hinges upon their adoption.
The team began by speaking with members of the public last summer exploring their views and recommendations on issues of data security, accessibility to and control over use of devices and appliances associated with smart home living.
The team have gone on to carry out interviews with university staff and students to investigate their perceptions and experiences of smart modular living, using MyGlobalHome’s Innovation Centre as a case study. It is anticipated that findings from this study will help to shape the development of the several smart homes on the University campus.
In addition to these activities, a survey will be conducted with a nationally-representative sample of approx. 1000 adults in the UK. This survey will examine how people perceive smart and flexible homes in terms their instrumental, symbolic and affective properties, and how this compares to “normal” homes. A key focus will be to test how these properties predict willingness to purchase and live in (accept) these technologies. In addition, the survey will examine perceptions of smart technology in homes in more detail, informed by previous phases of the project.
Finally, the team, in collaboration with the GCARE Team, will be exploring peoples’ experiences using indoor air quality sensors. Sensors being tested have the potential to provide people with information they need to understand risks and take necessary steps to reduce associated health impacts in the future. The study also aims to investigate the impact of having such information has on peoples’ living practices.
Outcomes from these studies are being presented at various conferences this summer, including Energy Research & Social Science Conference (Manchester, June 2022), International Association of People-Environment Studies’ Conference (online, July 2022), HCI International (online, June 2022), and the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference (Newcastle, August 2022). Other project reports and research papers are under preparation and will appear on this page shortly.
This part of the MyGlobalHome (MGH) ‘Connected Living’ Demonstrator Project aims to understand the nature of Demonstrator Projects and what factors exist to support or hinder their propagation. It includes a series of research activities including identifying relevant Demonstrator Projects, surveying the projects to gain insights into their self-evaluation of their success, drilling down further into a number of case study projects and disseminating the findings.
The research team began by conducting a comprehensive background literature review. The key findings from the literature review were then used to develop the survey questionnaire. A database of 270 recent Demonstrator Projects was created and 480 questionnaires were distributed to the key contacts in the database to collect data and insights from different Demonstrator Projects. The key findings from the survey were reported, and the insights were presented to the internal University of Surrey MGH project team.
The next stage of the project will be to conduct a number of case study reviews of relevant Demonstrator Projects. The findings from the survey have been used to develop the case study interview questions and relevant case study projects have been identified from across the construction and energy sectors. The interviews will be thematically analyzed to develop a proposal for good practice in demonstrating outcomes.
In parallel with the development of the case studies, the team has engaged with industry stakeholders at the Ideal Home Show 2022 in London and Outdoor Trade Show in Liverpool, and conducted interviews with the demonstrators on how they perceive success in demonstrating their products.
The team has also fostered outreach and working relationships with the external partners and the wider University of Surrey team. The key findings and implications will be disseminated to Industry Project Partners (IPPs) at a stakeholder workshop event at the end of the project. The insights will assist the IPPs in developing a business strategy pertaining to the development and wider roll-out of the adaptive living concept. Consolidating the findings of this work package, the team aims to shape opportunities for improving the success of Demonstrator Projects in the future.
The Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) team using its state-of-the-art Air Quality Laboratory is carrying out the selection, calibration, and performance evaluation of air pollution and environmental sensors inside the environmental pollution (Envilution®) Chamber to build a bespoke sensing unit to be deployed in a network inside MyGlobalHome buildings. Following the deployment, GCARE team will carry out data collection, processing and analysis, and develops predictive air quality models for indoors.
The team started with a comprehensive background literature review around the most recent technologies in low-cost air quality sensors. The aims were to create a list of air quality sensor candidates for possible application in smart homes. The study was completed in April 2021 and the key findings appeared in the following articles:
Omidvarborna, H., Kumar, P., et al., 2021. Low-cost air quality sensing towards smart homes. Atmosphere 12, 453.
The outcomes of this review were utilised in the selection of multiple sensors, such as temperature, relative humidity (RH), particulate matters (PMs) in three different size ranges PM1 (PM less than 1 micron in aerodynamic diameter), PM2.5 (PM less than 2.5 microns), and PM10 (PM less than 10 microns), carbon dioxide (CO2), total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). GPS, noise, and light sensors were also included to make it more unique in its kind. These efforts would be helpful to address how air pollution sensors could make homes smarter, a conference paper presented at European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in 2021.
The purchased sensors have been tested individually at the GCARE Air Quality Lab using Envilution® Chamber and they are put together as a GCARE bespoke sensing unit. The recorded data are harmonised for the desired timestamps and data are transmitted into a shared folder as well as an online analysis/visualisation tool. All these activities are summarised as a conference paper, entitled Development of a bespoke sensing unit for deploying in smart homes submitted to the 2022 Air Sensors International Conference in Pasadena, California, which has been accepted as a poster presentation in the session Indoor Sensing for Air Quality Control and Ventilation Applications.
The results of the calibration and performance evaluation are also used to develop our prediction models, which resulted in a model to predict indoor air quality considering indoor parameters. A summary of modelling work, entitled Evaluation of the performance of different indoor air quality predictive models using datasets from a smart home is accepted for oral presentation at the 13th International Conference on Air Quality – Science and Application, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Furthermore, a comprehensive research paper is under preparation, which summarised all the detailed activities around the unit, including technology development, bespoke sensor development, instrumentation and laboratory calibration, data collection and analysis, and machine learning algorithms. Apart from that, a book chapter is under preparation on low-cost sensors for air quality applications which will be published in the 3rd edition of the Treatise of Geochemistry, Elsevier.
- Professor Prashant Kumar (GCARE PI)
- Dr Hamid Omidvarborna (GCARE Research Fellow)
- Dr Ana Paula Mendes Emygdio (GCARE, Experimental Officer).
If you are interested in finding out more about the collaboration between the University of Surrey and MyGlobalHome, or if you have proposals for collaborative research projects that would make use of the Innovation Centre or the planned campus smart homes, please contact Dr Chris Jones at email@example.com.
Find out more about our research at Surrey: