Smart Building

What is Smart Building?

A smart building is any structure that uses automated processes to automatically control the building’s operations including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security and other systems.

A smart building uses sensors, actuators and microchips, in order to collect data and manage it according to a business’ functions and services. This infrastructure helps owners, operators and facility managers improve asset reliability and performance, which reduces energy use, optimizes how space is used and minimizes the environmental impact of buildings. Smart buildings are connected to a network with intelligent and adaptable software.

Why do we need smart buildings?

Smart buildings promise to improve efficiency by connecting these systems to reduce operating costs and increase the safety, productivity and quality of life of those who work and live inside their walls.

Smart buildings are also good for the equipment that runs them. Intelligent Management Systems can detect faults in the machinery and predict which pieces of equipment may soon fail. This can extend the life of building machinery, reduce maintenance costs and prevent complete failures, thereby preserving the reputation of the owner and, in the case of smart hospital buildings, the well-being of occupants.

Smart buildings have been shown to save energy, streamline building management and prevent expensive equipment failures. Although they are more expensive to build, over the long run, they actually cost less than conventional buildings over time as a result of how efficiently they run. The added benefits of increased safety and a higher quality of life for those inside make smart buildings a good bet for the future.

How are smart buildings integrated?

Return on investment for smart building solutions is getting increasingly attractive and will become more so as efficiencies of scale emerge in the era of big data. Defining and identifying use cases will be a critical strategy to establishing the business case for systems integration.

  1. Ideation workshops: Critical as a first step to prioritize facility management goals and objectives and align them with business objectives.

  2. Organizational skill set analysis: Smart building solutions involve an investment in technology. Before this investment is made, the organizational chart should be evaluated to understand existing staff skill sets, and present roles and responsibilities. Results of such evaluation usually reveal additional training requirements, missing skill sets, or necessary realignment of organizational structure to capitalize on the technological investment.

  3. Work process documentation: Facility management work processes as they relate to key goals and objectives should be documented. Automating or optimizing these work processes provides the best opportunities to reap the benefits of smart building solutions.

  4. Building systems evaluation: At the heart of any smart building solution are the building systems. Correctly selected, sized, and implemented building systems are critical in terms of energy efficiency and operational efficiency.

  5. Technology evaluation: Technological evaluation of existing systems can reveal easy opportunities for improvements in operations and energy management.After existing technology is maximized, additional investment in new technology can be considered. New technology solutions can involve systems integration, deployment of energy management, and fault detection and diagnostic tools. Existing technology evaluation should also include determination of instrumentation required for performance measurement. Having the right data set allows for optimal use of energy management tools and fault detection and diagnostic-type solutions.