Most people may have heard the term “Smart building” or “Automated building.” Do we understand what these terms are indicating? Let us ask ourselves the question.
What is Smart Building?
The definition of a smart building is fairly ambiguous, but at the most fundamental level, it can be defined as Technology that is used to maximise the efficiency of a building thereby improving its overall performance.
The better WE leverage building data, the better WE can plan, design, construct and operate space - WeWork
In a true sense, a smart building can be measured by how well all the systems coordinate and how all the data that is gathered is being analysed and used for improving the performance of the building. Performance indicates the immediate needs of the owners, occupants of the building, long-term needs of the investors, etc.
At present, technology is evolving at such fleeting speed that what may be cutting edge today can be outmoded tomorrow. Over a long period, buildings have been designed to accommodate modern-day necessities of humans. Facilities such as lighting, heating and cooling systems, security, etc., can be independently upgraded.
However, with the Impact of our civilisation on the world, owners and builders are looking outside the walls of their buildings and slowly considering the mission of their corporation and the impact on the global environment. To achieve these aspirations, it is simply not enough to provide basic amenities that give safety, comfort and light. These “Buildings of the future” must connect all dots in a resourceful and functional way. The vision of these buildings is to provide all amenities cost-effectively while considering its impact on the environment and simultaneously gather data to improve its overall efficiency.
Smart buildings use information technology and the Internet of Things(IoT) to connect several independent systems. To achieve this, “intelligence” must be added from the beginning of the design phase until the end of the building’s life.
Smart buildings exist to carry out the following goals:
• Connecting building systems
• Linking people with technology
• To connect to the smart power grid system
• To decrease the harmful effect on the environment
• To adapt to an intelligent future
Connecting Building Systems
Modern buildings have sophisticated systems that work in synchrony to provide security, comfort, facilities and comfort to its occupants. These systems may communicate machine-to-machine but due to the collective nature of data, the information may flow through only certain paths.
A smart building will maintain connectivity between all systems inside the building.
For example, the data acquired by the security system can be used to open and close the gate or turn off lights inside a room when people are not around.
Bringing technology to people
The main purpose of smart buildings is to improve overall efficiency. These complex structures are a mix of various machines that collect data, analyse it and respond to various needs accordingly. Without the human element, the interaction between these systems is meaningless. In a way, humans are the voice of guidance towards achieving smart building efficiency goals.
Future approaches towards productivity will enable humans to interact with technology and improve safety and amenities with less money, lesser energy and a decreased impact on the environment.
Decrease harmful impact on environment
Air pollution is a common problem that extends to major countries all over the world. Research shows that buildings are responsible for atleast 40% of energy consumption in most of the countries. Huge emissions and waste is produced during construction and management of buildings. Therefore, it is necessary that the design of smart buildings use a pragmatic approach towards achieving sustainability to leave a positive impact on the environment.
Using predictive Internet of Things(IoT), sensors can provide accurate monitoring and updates on the quality of air inside and around the building.
Connect to Smart Power Grid
A smart power grid system is an electrical grid that connects all electrical and smart devices of various operations and energy measure to improve the usage of all kinds of energy resources. A smart building can save on electricity costs by demanding “real-time” costs which indicate the actual cost of electricity at the time it is being used instead of the standard cost that is charged over a while.
Even though human involvement is significant while making decisions concerning the use of energy and occupant comfort, technology will be a vital enabler which will provide all the necessary information to humans to make smart decisions.
Empowers an Intelligent Future
The usefulness of Smart Buildings extends way beyond saving energy and achieving sustainability goals. It impacts the safety and security of both human and capital resources. Smart buildings provide an open platform for innovation. Since information is very easily accessible, smart buildings can improve and grow in tandem with technology to produce a robust and low-carbon economy that is envisioned for our future.
The benefits of smart technology extend beyond the walls of the building. The electric grid becomes more reliable, the carbon imprint of the society is reduced in the environment and there is a balance between the network of data received and the demand for unpredictable supply daily.
Businesses can run at a new level of efficiency by comparing and utilising the data received and establishing connections between systems that were previously independent of each other. These benefits last throughout the lifetime of the building and beyond.
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