What is a smart building?
Smart buildings are designed to incorporate automation technology within its processes to make lives easier, reduce energy use and speed up operations. These buildings offer useful features for its visitors and control of areas such as lighting, heating, ventilation, security, and water systems.
With technology evolving in all aspects of life, it only makes sense to improve tech within our buildings and create better environments to live and work. Smart buildings often integrate sensors and thermal cameras in various locations throughout the building – covering entrances, lifts and frequently used rooms. Data collected is then stored in a ‘cloud’ (a central computer system) and used to optimise processes to create a more efficient workplace.
What are the benefits of smart buildings?
Creating or transforming a building into a smart building can be beneficial for both the owner of a building and those occupying it; these include:
- Improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Without realising, aspects of a functioning building can waste a lot of energy. Having smart building technology gathers intelligence on certain areas that can be changed or improved to maximise energy-efficiency. Operating a stop/start system for the heating & air conditioning system in rooms that are used less frequently is a great way to save energy and eradicate unnecessary costs.
- Identify and fix operational issues
Smart buildings are constantly gathering data and monitoring themselves, so if something does happen to go wrong, the building can detect the problem, self-diagnose and alert the correct organisation to fix it. This will increase operational efficiency by reducing the time it takes to manually identify and fix potential problems as well as reducing complaints from occupants about broken facilities.
- Improve health and safety practices
Feeling safe at work or while at home is important for everyone, and having technology that can identify any dangers and quickly respond to them can help substantially. If there is a fire, for instance, buildings that can identify the hazard immediately can alert tenants, notify the fire service, and activate sprinklers in the appropriate areas. Having safety features such as these will decrease the risk of injury and fatalities, as well as the costs of damages.
- Create a more comfortable environment
Smart buildings have been designed to deliver a more comfortable experience for their occupants, and help employees become more productive. By continually monitoring building use, buildings can adjust internal and external systems to provide employees with facilities they need. They can also identify areas of the workplace that aren’t getting used, which can be changed into something else that would get more use.
- Save time and money
Even though the initial investment in a smart building may seem costly, over time, you will begin to see savings in multiple areas – especially in running costs. Many business owners are unaware of just how much money is being wasted each year on various aspects like heating, lighting or even unproductive employees! A smart building can help identify areas that are wasting money, quickly and efficiently – your savings will pay off the initial investment in less time than you think.
- Increase employee retention and loyalty
Not only will a smart building benefit your business, but it can also provide a more positive, comfortable working environment for your employees. If employees are happy at work, then they are more likely to remain loyal to your company and less likely to go looking for another job. Employee recruitment can be costly, so having a low employee turnover rate can help a business save money as well as time and resources.
Written by: Becky Morris