What this is about

  • An inherent contradiction between infrastructure and laboratory
  • Working with the contradiction: The case of a zero emission living lab at Campus Evenstad

The problem combining “infrastructure” with “laboratories”


  • Reach or scope beyond a single-site practice
  • Links with conventions of practice
  • Embodies standards
  • Embedded inside other technical and social structures
  • Installed on an existing base
  • Invisible in routine use



  • Three translations: into the lab, within the lab, out of the lab
  • Within the lab: Many rapid cycles of trial and error to identify working constellations


What problem?

  1. Not losing “infrastructureness” in a laboratory.
  2. Not losing “labness” when experimenting with infrastructures.

Three illustrations

  • The Norwegian Smart Grid Laboratory: highest “labness”, lowest “infrastructureness”
  • Singapore smart grid lab and test bed: a lab struggling with “infrastructureness” [@TusharSmartGridTestbed2016]
  • Smart grid pilots: highest “infrastructureness”, little “labness” [@SkjolsvoldEmbeddingsmartenergy2015; @wallstenAssemblingSmartGrid2017]

A zero emission infrastructure experiment at Evenstad Campus


A no-tech experiment

  • Co-designed with the local FM-team, based on an infrastructure ethnography and a series of workshops with occupants
  • The old administration building as experimental site: Switching off the AC during July 2018

A working constellation

  • Expected energy savings realised
  • Little negative impact on occupants, too warm anyway, little occupancy during summer months
  • Building owner Statsbygg is interested in more, similar experiments

And now?

Increase “labness”!

  • More experiments with the same and other buildings, allow for failing
  • Identify the conditions in which sufficiency strategies work (best)

Double temptation

  • Move on to other pilots (success!)
  • Declare the whole campus to be a “laboratory”

Urban living labs

  • Very specific and local (high labness)
  • So general that they are little more than marketing devices (high infrastructureness)


Working with the tension: carefully and continuously balance degrees of “labness” and “infrastructureness”