Among other initiatives, Samsung C&T is behind the construction of the sustainable house 'Green Tomorrow'. Photo: Samsung C&T

From Burj Khalifa to green cities of the future

Tuesday 10 Jun 14

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KyungHun Woo, Energy Analyst, Samsung C&T,
DTU and South Korea have forged strong ties in recent years—one such tie unites construction giant Samsung C&T with the Danish research project—CITIES. Meet Samsung’s man at DTU.

By Signe Gry Braad

In October last year, DTU signed a collaborative agreement with the South Korean construction giant Samsung C&T. A month later, the first tangible result of the agreement—KyungHun Woo, a C&T energy analyst normally specializing in construction—moved into his office at DTU Civil Engineering. Up until October 2014 he will work on the CITIES project whose aim is to create IT solutions for analysing, operating and developing integrated urban energy systems.

Samsung C&T is a true heavyweight in the building and construction sector—in particular in the Middle East and Asia. One of the most recent examples of their work is the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.

However, Samsung C&T also has a greener side—as reflected in the sustainable house ‘Green Tomorrow’erected in the South Korean metropolis, Yongin—a building that has won numerous awards for its innovative design.

KyungHun Woo also explains that China—one of the biggest markets for Samsung C&T—is also driving interest in green construction technologies.

“In China, population growth is so great that the authorities are building whole new cities and the so-called smart cities are attracting a lot of interest. It is therefore vital that Samsung C&T keep pace with development so as not to fall behind competitors,” he says.

"There is substantial interest in so-called smart cities. It’s therefore important that Samsung C&T stays abreast of development in the area."
KyungHun Woo, Samsung C&T

DTU is leader
With this in mind, Samsung C&T has come to the right place, assesses Carsten Rode, professor and Head of Section at DTU Civil Engineering.

“In Denmark, we are experts when it comes energy-efficient construction. In fact, we are one of the global leaders in the field—and at DTU, we have developed extensive know-how in the field over the past 40 years. Naturally, this is knowledge Samsung wants us to share with them,” he says.

The theory that DTU was carefully selected is corroborated by KyungHun Woo.

“Back in 2007, representatives from Samsung C&T visited numerous universities around the world and reached the conclusion that DTU was the best research partner in the area of sustainable construction.”

However, KyungHun Woo explains that the purpose of his residency at DTU is not to learn to solve the problems addressed by the CITIES projects.

“My time at DTU means that in future I can act as a kind of facilitator that knows who to contact at DTU in order to solve tasks associated with smart cities.”

While staff at DTU Byg are also pleased with collaboration, they would also like to see DTU traffic going the other way.

“I know that negotiations are underway to establish an internship agreement with Samsung C&T so that our talented DTU students can take up internships in South Korea. I’m sure this would benefit both parties,” says Carsten Rode.


Photo: Samsung C&T 

KyungHun on moving to Denmark

KyungHun Woo describes his experience of moving from Korea to Denmark.

What surprised you the most about DTU?
“In South Korea, a normal working day usually starts at 7 am and doesn’t end before 9.00 pm. In Denmark, people usually go home at five in the afternoon. I found that very surprising.”

Does that mean we are less productive in Denmark?
“I don’t think so—we just structure our work differently in South Korea. Here, most days are full of meetings so individual employees are interrupted in their work many times during the day. Personally, I think people work more effectively when there are fewer interruptions.”

What was the most difficult aspect of living in Denmark?
“It was a bit strange travelling by myself to a foreign country. But now my wife and children have joined me, which makes all the difference. And the red tape regarding working in Denmark has been a bit of a problem. It took six weeks before all the paperwork went through.”

How would you describe the shift from business to university?
“For me, there’s no major difference. I sat behind a desk in the research department in Korea so it’s really only the surroundings that have changed.”