Intelligent buildings offer efficiency, sustainability, and an enjoyable place to work
Some of us have only Dwayne Johnson to thank for what we know about intelligent buildings. In his 2018 blockbuster, he had to figure out how to save his family from the world’s tallest and safest building. The movie brought in nearly $305 million at the box office. In real life, intelligent buildings have the opportunity to generate billions of dollars in savings for owners while making life a whole lot easier for tenants.
What is an intelligent building? It’s the integration of technology and design to optimize performance, efficiency, and sustainability. Environmental controls interact with sensors, devices, and people to automate energy usage and facilitate productivity. Things like HVAC and lighting can represent up to 70% of a building’s energy usage. Finding ways to reduce these costs is crucial.
What today’s intelligent buildings can do
Intelligent buildings offer ways to automate things humans manually control. However, intelligent buildings do it more efficiently. The self-monitoring allows for predictive maintenance. Buildings are starting to tell us what’s soon going to need repairs or replacement. The most common areas of automation include:
- Lighting: software and sensors turn on, off, or dim interior lighting depending on the time of day or even the level of external light. This offers enormous energy savings. It can be retrofitted into older buildings, but it’s often the most popular feature requested for new intelligent buildings. New sensing systems can even detect lamp or fixture failures.
- HVAC: it’s often the biggest contributor to energy consumption, and office buildings may only use up to half of their space at any given time. New and highly efficient systems can monitor and adjust more than temperature. Humidity control is important for office productivity. Intelligent buildings take a holistic approach to environmental control. It’s not just air temperature. It’s air quality. Particulate sensors will even measure and warn against indoor pollen or pollutants.
There are more benefits when technology is incorporated into building design.
The future of work
You’ve probably heard of the concept of BYOD – bring your own device – as it applies to the modern office. Employers give employees a productivity tool allowance, and they bring their own laptops or mobile devices to work. Many people don’t even need an office space because they’re working remotely or telecommuting.
Intelligent buildings help office managers allot and maintain office space for today’s transitional workforces. Embedded building technology allows for access control, conference room booking management, and distribution of resources where and when they’re needed.
Intelligent building advantages
The savings in energy usage and operations are the easiest to understand, but there are even more advantages to intelligent buildings.
Big buildings need management. The integration of technology helps to simplify or automate the tasks that you now have to pay building management personnel to accomplish. Predictive maintenance is one area of interest for building managers. The ability to remotely monitor a building, from a burnt-out exterior light to an empty soap dispenser on the third floor is extremely valuable to property managers or building owners.
Intelligent buildings become agents of efficiency, ensuring that energy is conserved, rooms are optimally utilized, and maintenance is reduced. The proactive approach helps to reduce wear and tear on the building and its equipment. It becomes less expensive to operate.
A return on investment
Today’s younger workforces – especially millennials and Generation Z – have higher expectations about what they expect from their work environment. It’s not all about technology. They want to work in spaces that contribute to sustainability. Intelligent buildings reduce energy use. Many even utilize renewable energy sources such as solar power.
Intelligent buildings ultimately attract smart talent. These productive and innovative workers demand work environments that support their need to feel a high level of contribution and personal satisfaction. Smart buildings help to engage and retain smart talent, and that’s a cost-effective move. Employee attrition is expensive, often costing up to 20% of their salary to find a replacement.
Imagine buildings that help you keep your workforce engaged and efficient by using sensors to gather data on usage to efficiently stock restroom supplies. The parking garage monitors vehicle usage so your smartphone can tell you which floor has open spaces. Intelligent buildings generate operational savings for owners and managers and create a better experience for tenants.