The upcoming generation of smart buildings brings a different vision for unseen levels of energy efficiency, optimization, and occupancy productivity.
Ever since the mid-1980s, a new generation of products, technologies, and analytical tools have helped transform the building landscape. Many benefits have been seen with smart technologies and operations when it comes to design, construction, and operations.
Around the 1990s, when people spoke about intelligent buildings, they were referring to automated processes for building operations, mainly HVAC, lighting, and security systems, states Joachim Schuessler, Principal with Goettsch Partners. But now, when it comes to smart building systems, connectivity and interaction are critical. The route to performance optimization requires: first, improvement of the operational function of the facility; second, enhancement of the experience and productivity of the people in the building.
Moreover, what sets today’s components apart are such capabilities as enhanced data generation and analysis and IoT-enabled reporting and communication. Teams who leverage these capabilities are finding advantages that play out across a range of building systems and components, from lighting fixtures and HVAC sensors to distributed antenna systems and location services using Bluetooth.
Some of the latest technology is power-over-Ethernet LED lighting, says Matthew Odell, Director of Technologies with the S2N consulting group at Clark Construction. “PoE” uses as little as 24 volts versus a more standard 177 volts. And because PoE lighting is connected to the building’s network, you can add Bluetooth and occupancy sensors to collect data and track energy savings.
As smart buildings are appearing across each city, they may also unlock new value in prefabricated and modular building approaches, with companies like Katerra installing smart tech in the manufacturing environment for plug-and-play application in the field.
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