A lab for green ideas

Art February 11, 2018 01:00

By Somluck Srimalee
The Sunday Nation

3,199 Viewed

Magnolia’s Research and Innovation for Sustainability Centre is making life healthier for people and the environment



THE RESEARCH & Innovation for Sustainability Centre (RISC) that Magnolia Quality Development Corp opened in its Bangkok headquarters this year is playing a key role in improving people’s lives and protecting the environment, says its chief adviser.

Singh Intrachooto says the 990-square-metre centre just off Rajdamri Road represented a Bt200-million investment. 

The aim is to support researchers in the science, engineering, arts, and industrial design as they devise environmentally and socially sustainable concepts for residential units and workplaces. 

Singh calls RISC a resource for society, dedicated to reducing the impact people have on the environment.

At last week’s Bangkok Design 2018 fair, officials from the centre displayed raw “green” building materials from Thailand and overseas and shared the results of research into how plants can be cultivated indoors with the right lighting, humidiy, and temperature controls.

Indoor gardens will become more important the more urban society “goes vertical”, Singh says.

RISC is also testing technology for controlling indoor environments using IAQ sensors that measure temperature, relative humidity, volatile organic compounds and potentially harmful airborne particles. 

The sensors display a red light for danger and yellow for caution and finally green for “all clear” after a cleansing system has done its work.

A system being tested for offices replaces noise pollution with the sounds of nature (sound masking system). It also reduces acoustic disruption to keep conversations private.

Lighting-design features that have been developed include circadian lighting, glare control and colour quality control. Simulation software is used to minimise disruptions to an individual’s natural circadian rhythms, thus enhancing sleep, productivity and visual acuity.

RISC designer Phetcharin Phongphetkul says all of the raw materials and innovations developed at the centre are publicly available to show and share with architects, engineers and homeowners how green concepts can provide ample choice and benefits to them and to the environment.

“We search for innovative and green products both domestically and overseas that fit the country’s environment, with the goal of increasing people’s wellbeing,” she says.

Singh says the centre has 15 researchers investigating all aspects of residential and commercial building standards with an eye to making them healthy and environmentally sound, including offices and retail and hospitality outlets.

The researchers are compiling best practices for building construction to improve residents’ and employees’ quality of life, he says. They also help property firms develop residential and commercial buildings.

“And we have an exchange programme through which we share our research with networks of people abroad who study and research healthy-living standards, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in the US and the Baycrest Research Centre in Toronto, Canada. 

“We share knowledge and innovate together,” Singh says.

He stresses that, although Magnolia established the centre, other property developers and anyone else interested in green technology are welcome to use its “eco-material” library to help them make sensible choices on their projects.

“Our goal is to be a global research centre setting development standards for the wellbeing of all people and other living being. People cannot exit alone, we must take care of animals and other living organism in order to achieve sustainability,” Singh says.

 BEST PRACTICES

The Research and Innovation for Sustainability Centre is on the fourth floor of Magnolia Ratchadamri Boulevard building, Rajdamri Road headquarters in Bangkok.

It’s open weekdays from 8.30am to 5.30pm and there is no admission fee.

Contact the RISC at 1265, extension 4, or email isc_admin@dtgsiam.com.