'My research has a practical application'

Written by
Lenny Mennen
Published on
20 June 2018
Category
Blog

I am now embarking on what will hopefully be a great career as a consultant in the world of construction and architecture.

The main challenges will be energy transition and the move to a circular economy. Personally, I'm also motivated to contribute. Within this field, I can definitely do something!

Architecture student Lenny Mennen (24) is embarking on a career in building technology. She already knows something about that world, thanks to two part-time jobs and a graduation project at Strukton Worksphere.

Become an architect. That was the idea when I started studying Architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology. But my preference changed as my studies progressed. It's a broad field, focusing on many different aspects of construction. Not just the design, but also the process and technology. I was increasingly drawn to the latter, and particularly to building physics. This is about how buildings perform, mainly with respect to energy and comfort. An area in which Strukton Worksphere is also very involved.

‘I had to know the difference between electrical-engineering and mechanical-engineering issues. That was very informative.’

Part-time job at the service desk
As a student, I needed extra money. On Facebook, I saw a vacancy for a service desk employee at Strukton Worksphere in Son, just above Eindhoven. An ideal job, I thought. I spent an enjoyable 2.5 years in that job. Obviously I wasn't involved in the technical design of buildings. But I did learn a lot about what Strukton did. Clients called me about faults or repair jobs which I then passed on to the right engineers. To do this, I had to know the difference between electrical-engineering and mechanical-engineering issues. That was very informative. And perhaps the best result: I made contacts with a leading company in my own field of study. Not bad!

Those contacts came in useful when I was looking for somewhere to do my graduation project. Meanwhile, I'd chosen to do a Master in Building Physics & Services. I thought it would be nice if I could do research somewhere where the results and advice could also be applied in a practical sense. That's much more satisfying than if my research was purely theoretical. Fortunately, I received a warm welcome at Strukton Worksphere.

In recent months, I've been studying how Strukton Worksphere can estimate the risks relating to user behaviour fast and efficiently. Sometimes Worksphere offers to finance an energy-saving measure for clients. Insulation of outside walls, for example. The resulting savings are then shared between the client and Worksphere. However, it's useful if Strukton Worksphere can then give a good estimate of how much that saving might be and the main risks involved. User behaviour is one of these, although Strukton Worksphere doesn't have much influence on that. I developed a plan including a fast method to reduce the number of simulations.

From data to sustainability
For my research, I spend three days a week in the office at Strukton Worksphere. I also work in the department that manages Strukton PULSE one day. PULSE is Strukton Worksphere's own system for data-driven building management. We collect that data via many sensors. My job is to code data points and link them to the right algorithms. If everything works properly, you can see exactly how a building performs. I acquired the knowledge for this installation function via internal training. Again, this expertise will come in useful later on. And now it provides variety in my week!

I am now embarking on what will hopefully be a great career as a consultant in the world of construction and architecture. With lots of exciting developments which will play an important role. The main challenges will be energy transition and the move to a circular economy. I find myself part of a generation that is keen to improve the world. Tackling global warming, cleaning the oceans, making our energy greener. Personally, I'm also motivated to contribute. Within this field, I can definitely do something!

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