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What is a Smart Building?

By Peter Dussault

A SMART BUILDING DEFINED

What is a smart building, and why do you need one? Our clients are asking that question, and here is our response. You want a smart building because it enhances the user experience, is safer, healthier and is more energy efficient than other buildings. To get there, building control systems (HVAC, lighting, access control, etc.) must work together and pool the data within each system. That data can then be analyzed and used to maximize user experience, minimize energy consumption, create a healthier environment, and create a safer workplace.

SOME EXAMPLES

For instance, most lighting control systems have occupancy sensors to turn off the lights when the occupant is not there. In a smart building, the lighting occupancy sensor can also adjust or setback the temperature setpoint in the room to save energy, let coworkers know that that person is not in, and more.

As an even more advanced example, an individual swipes through security, the office is alerted that someone is coming, and systems, such as lights and air conditioning, turn on to create a more comfortable space. The coffee maker starts. The elevator is waiting. The same happens when someone books a conference room for a meeting; for example, within 15 minutes of a scheduled appointment, lights and HVAC in the identified room turn on, maximizing comfort and energy efficiency.

We are anticipating lots of changes very quickly in this space. What we know through our experience right now is that smart buildings are necessary to increase indoor air quality, enhance the occupant experience, provide a safe space, and increase energy efficiency. Healthy and smart buildings go hand in hand, so if you have any questions about what this might mean for your building, please let me know.