12 September 2013 — Real-time energy use data from offices around Sydney’s CBD will be transformed into an artwork featuring “virtual athletes” as part of the City of Sydney’s annual Art & About festival.
Building Run, a video installation by artist Keith Deverell, marries art, technology and sustainability.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the project, sponsored by Investa and Deutsche Bank, and supported by Carbon Arts and Buildings Alive, aimed to get Sydneysiders thinking about how they use energy.
The installation comprises five video screens, each of which relates to one of the five office buildings participating in the project – 400 George Street, 255 Elizabeth Street, the BT Tower, Customs House and Deutsche Bank Place.
“Low energy use in the buildings will make the virtual athletes run a faster, more efficient race,” Ms Moore said.
“As energy levels ramp up, the buildings’ runners will become visibly exhausted – their cheeks will go red, their breathing will get heavier and they will sweat.”
Mr Deverell said he was interested in the idea of buildings as living and breathing organisms, and that a healthy body image was as important to a building as to humans.
“Data visualisations like this can challenge the way we see and interact with the world around us,” said Ms Moore.
“Offices are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions in our cities – improving their energy performance, including changing our behaviour in offices, can make a big difference.”
Carbon Art’s Jodi Newcombe said the project highlighted the race to green up our infrastructure by 2030.
“The race is a metaphoric one in that we are racing against the clock in terms of addressing climate change,” she said. “But it’s also a literal one in the sense of Building Run being a daily race of these buildings to perform better than they have in the past.”
See our article Jodi Newcombe: How art is making sustainability cool
Investa’s general manager of corporate sustainability Beck Dawson said the project had the opportunity to humanise the performance of buildings and create a conversation on how the collective behaviour of individuals can influence building performance.
“While the built environment is responsible for a considerable amount of our country’s carbon dioxide emissions – up to 23 per cent – it’s our people, those who spend time day-in, day-out within these workspaces, who also have a key role to play in improving energy efficiency and minimising our emissions,” she said.