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By Anjani Shyam
September 12, 2017
To put it simply, a smart building is any structure that uses automated processes to control the building's operations. This means that things, such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and security, are connected and controlled automatically by a central system.
The role of the building has shifted significantly in modern times. It’s no longer the case they simply provide shelter, but rather they are shaping the intelligent future of our cities.
Connecting Core Systems
Making a building smart begins with linking core systems like lighting, power meters, water meters, pumps, heating, fire alarms, and chiller plants, with sensors and control systems. By having these vital components linked, buildings are able to operate in a more efficient and symbiotic way.
Ramon Shyam, an industry veteran with almost 20 years’ experience in facilities management, told Jobsite that smart buildings are quickly becoming the norm.
“It started with little things like connecting fire alarms to security systems. Nowadays, though, all elements of buildings need to work together systematically. Smart buildings allow for data to be passed back and forth easily, leading to higher levels of energy efficiency savings, increased safety standards and comfort levels, as well as lowering the overall operational costs.”
Smart buildings are able to easily adapt to changing occupant needs, such as monitoring the temperatures of multiple floors depending on how many people are working there, whilst saving costs and energy at the same time. With the open access to information, there have been apps created to control buildings and save time, energy, and operating costs with just a few taps. For example, data modelling can help save money in areas such as cooling and ventilation, which lowers energy costs by reducing usage and wastage.
The Environment is Everything
Operational costs account for nearly three-quarters of the total cost of a building over its lifespan, so it’s evident that keeping them down is a major priority. Considering the vast amounts of energy required to power buildings, optimising the core operations of buildings will also help reduce the toll high energy usage places on the environment.
By 2025, buildings are projected to be the largest emitters of greenhouse gases on our planet therefore, developers need to prioritise smart building to ensure that our environment is looked after in the most sustainable manner.
“While there are significant cost benefits to embracing green building, there is a significant ecological benefit to building smarter. It’s essentially unavoidable that energy is used in the day-to-day running and maintenance of buildings, but the smarter we build, the more sustainable we are,” Ramon continues. “In my experience smart buildings are green buildings. From a facilities manager’s perspective, a smart building is great for its occupants. However, the environmental benefits are important too, not only for the organisation but also for the wider community.”
Smart buildings enable innovation by making information and data more accessible, keeping costs, wastage, and environmental impacts down. The operational, financial, and environmental benefits of these intelligent buildings are clear and investment in building smarter is needed to ensure a sustainable future for Australians.
If you liked this article, here are a few eBooks you might enjoy:
Connecting the Lifecycle of Construction
The Future of Green Building
How Construction Technology is Saving Time, Money, and Jobs
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