The COVID-19 pandemic changed our approach towards our buildings. As offices emptied and remote working became the norm, it became essential to make our buildings safe enough to return to. That’s where smart buildings came in. With technology that helps boost employee well-being, achieve ESG goals, manage utility usage, and more, smart buildings have ensured that the future is now.
A smart building or intelligent building is any structure that uses technology for automated processes to control the building’s different operations. Building managers use data obtained via these automated processes to understand and regulate the usage of resources.
Indoor air quality, energy consumption, smart cleaning, monitoring water temperature, and operational capacity were just some avenues where smart sensors came into play. These monitoring systems made it easy to report which systems worked fine and which ones needed to perform better.
It is estimated that by 2026, there will be 115 million smart buildings globally – a whopping 150% increase from the current 45 million. Of these, nearly 90% of smart building spending will be attributed to nonresidential properties.
Building managers have recognised the advantages of deploying smart building technology to enhance building performance. A study from Johnson Controls estimated that 99% of facilities managers surveyed saw advantages to intelligent buildings.
Why Smart Buildings are Beneficial
The transformation of buildings into smart buildings has been a necessary change. These buildings emerged as the answer to the new issues under scrutiny during the pandemic, especially the manual effort it takes to operate a building.
The benefits of smart buildings are numerous, including, but not limited to:
As social distancing became necessary, smart sensors helped managers understand the office occupancy levels. Now, they help understand if an office is filled to its capacity. Additionally, solutions that automate compliance help maintain a safe office environment.
For example, with Legionella compliance, IoT smart building solutions alert users when the temperature isn’t at compliance levels. This helps recognise and rectify the problem immediately to prevent health issues among employees.
There are many benefits of good air quality in the workplace. With indoor air quality monitoring, one can monitor temperature and humidity, along with CO2, PM2.5, and VOC levels. Apart from the obvious benefit of having good ventilation in the office, good indoor air quality has a proven impact on employee performance.
Helps Achieve ESG Goals
Today, sustainability is the name of the game. Buildings are responsible for generating a staggering 40% of the world’s emissions – so what can smart tech do to help? An increasing number of employees are interested in their office’s sustainability practices and ESG achievements. With smart building solutions, one can use data to achieve ESG certifications like from organisations like RESET, GRESB, BREEAM and LEED.
These ESG certifications have benefits such as a lower vacancy rate – as there is an increasing preference for green buildings, reduced health and other risks, and high employee productivity.
Thanks to smart building technology, one can track, analyse, and manage utility consumption patterns. Using these insights, building managers can make changes to utilising such resources, thus increasing savings on energy, water, and gas bills. Smart buildings have the potential to save up to 25% on energy costs and reduce operating costs by 30%.
As the energy crisis worsens, smart utility monitoring has paved the way for controlling spending. With regular real-time data, one can detect the efficiency of the HVAC system and resource wastage. The data can also help set achievable targets for energy consumption.
Improves Employee Well-being
ESG is a priority for employees, but most important is their health. We spend nearly 90% of our time indoors – it’s crucial that the building isn’t detrimental to our health.
With smart building solutions like legionella compliance, indoor air quality monitoring, and workplace optimisation, employers can ensure that their staff is in their best health – physically and mentally. This, in turn, helps reduce sick leaves, boosts productivity, and helps employees reach their full potential.
Data Made Easy Via Smart Building Technology
Technology has made it easy for us to generate, access, and analyse huge amounts of data within seconds. Data is a very valuable asset for a business, as it powers every single decision made in a company.
To this end, when addressing building data, one must use a system that makes it easy to acquire and understand. We have extensively covered what IoT can do for building sustainability – but at the heart of this topic is how to obtain and analyse data.
As Dean Abbott (co-founder and Chief Data Scientist at SmarterHQ) said, “No data is clean, but most is useful”. When there’s a lot of information, you need to sift through it to analyse it and change your current system.
This decision relies on the platform of your choice:
- It must be able to visualise all the data you need on a user-friendly dashboard.
- Different companies have different KPIs – your dashboard must be customisable to manage priorities.
- It must be accessible through different IT systems without any issues.
ZiggyTec’s smart building solutions help generate insights from the data shown on the platform. Take the case of a building manager who changed the time they powered up their HVAC system to generate savings or that of a manager who was able to detect a major leak in their building. Both times, data helped understand the root of the issue and come up with solutions.
A Smart Future
As the digital era has touched every part of our lives, it is unsurprising that buildings weren’t spared either. Smart sensor technology has helped create a system where every aspect of the structure can be tracked and improved. Not only does this create a safe environment for occupants, but it also increases the building’s longevity.
As energy costs continue to skyrocket and environmental concerns become the centre of attention, intelligent buildings are an efficient solution that can help make workplaces smart, safe, and sustainable.