Have you ever wondered what a smart building is? Is it the futuristic buildings of sci-fi films, where everything is interconnected and controlled by just a gesture? Or maybe it’s a building that is run by AI, which could take care of all of those little niggling issues without human intervention at all?
While those inventions might seem nice, science hasn’t quite got to that stage yet! What we do have are smart buildings that can be monitored and controlled from one panel, helping facilities managers keep an eye on their buildings in a much easier way.
What Is A Smart Building?
A smart building is any building that uses automated processes and technology to automatically control the standard building operations. This includes heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security or other building systems.
It does this by using a variety of sensors, actuators and microchips that are built into the fabric of the building and the building systems. This upgraded infrastructure help building owners and facilities managers monitor their systems more effectively and gives them greater control and performance over the course of each asset’s life. They also reduce energy use, optimise how space in the building is used and help minimise the environmental impact of buildings from day one.
There’s no set standard for what a smart building should look like or how it should function. But the common thread is integration, and how these buildings have technology built into their very infrastructure, connecting everything together.
The Benefits Of Smart Buildings
Smart buildings are capable of all sorts of things, and the development of new technologies will only add to the list in the future. But right now, there are 7 key benefits to smart buildings that all facilities managers should know about.
Automation Opportunities: The more ways you can link a physical space with digital management systems, the more opportunities there will be to automate basic tasks. Things like motion-sensitive lights, floor sensors for occupancy, beacons to gauge workspace utilisation and more are all possible with smart buildings, taking the burden off both facilities managers and IT teams.
Quantifiable Building Insights: All smart tech provides feedback and data. Each data point generated by a smart building gives you an insight into how your building is functioning, how occupants are using it, and when each system sees the most load. Using these data points you can build up a realistic picture of your building’s use and maintenance needs.
Predictive Maintenance: Through digital twins and similar technology, buildings and workplaces become manageable assets. This means you have a clearer overview of what the maintenance needs are, and can become more proactive as a result. This approach saves you time and money and using the technology you can see where more proactive maintenance would benefit you.
Better Resource Utilisation: Smart buildings allow facilities managers to take the resources of a building, like space, manpower, and technology, and quantify them within the context of the facility as a whole. This means a better understanding of how people use the facility, and how you can improve things for them.
Reduced Energy Consumption: One of the big benefits of automation is your systems being able to identify and understand when they are needed and when they aren’t, which results in significantly less energy use. Whether that’s motion-sensitive lighting or a sensor-controlled HVAC system that can adjust useable depending on occupancy, smart buildings help you use less energy and help the environment.
Reduced Operational Costs: Investing in the technology and infrastructure needed to support a smart building is often a block for businesses, but the ROI is almost always worth it. By creating a building that can gather data and use it to make intelligent decisions, you can save a small fortune in operational costs year-on-year.
New Workspace Opportunities: In the new age of evolving working styles, change in the workplace is unavoidable. Flexible working and hybrid working are fast in their way to becoming the new norm, and there’s a big demand for systems to help manage these new working styles. This level of oversight is much easier to achieve with a smart network and systems that generate data to support it.
So, are smart buildings the future? In a word, yes! Not only is technology becoming more advanced by the day, the changes mean it’s never been easier to monitor and control your building’s critical systems. As smart buildings expand, the functionality will be made available to residents as well, giving them greater control over their environment and the ability to work more efficiently.
At Bonus Eventus Maintenance we are passionate about the environment, and about helping facilities managers make the most of technology to improve their buildings. We work with a number of companies already who are looking to implement smart technology into their buildings, and we would love to work with more in the future. If you’re interested and would like to know more, just get in touch with the team today.