All buildings are designed based on a set of assumptions covering a myriad different aspects ranging from cultural, social and technical topics. All architects know, that once a building is finished, all those assumptions and decisions taken during the design phase are put to the final test.
After completion most of the variables of a building’s life cycle are outside architects control, however environmental factors that affect the building can be monitored, providing with valuable feedback for future projects.
Factors such as internal temperature, CO2 levels, humidity and others can be logged thus providing confirmation of the performance of a specific building assembly.
Although many weather data monitoring systems are available, there are not many one stop solutions that can be checked remotely and unobtrusively at a reasonable price. However we found one cost effective solution to gather building data by using a plug-in computer coupled with an environmental monitor card.
Raspberry Pi type B computer board with case, after initial set up.
The computer in question is a Raspberry-Pi (RPI). It was originally conceived for educational purposes an has an open architecture that allows for the addition of modules with different functions. As an educational project, the Raspberry Pi has a wide following worldwide and there are already many applications developed by students, hobbyist and the like.
For us, one very interesting add-on module (and the reason we chose to try the RPI) is the AirPi weather station. This small card sits on top of the RPI computer and through its sensors logs data on temperature, humidity, co2 and gas. All the collected data then can be automatically uploaded to the web and other applications.
Attracted by its (apparently) ease of use and implementation, we ordered both an RPI and an AirPi module. The RPI has already been tested few days ago and proved very easy to set up, now we are eagerly waiting the arrival of the AirPi card so we can run tests on some of our completed projects. (Hopefully the results will be good).
Finally, it is good to note that the AirPi was developed by team of students in the UK, check their video explaining the AirPi!