If you are familiar with the commercial real estate sector, the phrase “Smart Buildings” won’t be new to you. But for the majority that don’t keep up with the commercial building jargon, Smart Buildings will be a household name in the near future. This is because the technology that is going into the newest office towers around the world will eventually come to the average home owner; in the same way innovations in the automobile sector are often conceived on the race track.
Smart Buildings are buildings that are fully connected. This means that all the regular infrastructure that are located within a building (telecommunications, security, internet, and energy) are networked together, allowing for unparallelled communication opportunities. Think of a building that has a spinal cord…a central conduit where all the information within the building can be transported throughout the entire building. But why does this matter for commercial tenants or builders? Here are the most exciting opportunities that Smart Buildings will provide us in the next few years:
- Give real-time information on the “health of the building”. Smart buildings will provide information on anything going on in the building at any time. Change the building temperature, add an internet connection, add apps to read just about anything that is going on in the building from any computer. Value: Respond to any event in the building almost immediately; have a real-time history of what has happened in the building.
- Reduce building waste. Commercial buildings account for 35% of commercial energy consumption in North American cities. What if we were able to reduce that consumption by 5% just because the building was smart enough to adjust the temperature and lighting at night automatically? That would mean a continental savings of over $4 Billion with no impact on operations! Value: Reduce overall electricity demand; Save money; Lower Greenhouse Gas impact.
- Stimulate technology development. Some of the largest software and hardware companies in the world are investing in Smart Buildings. This includes Cisco, GE, and Siemens. As this technology matures, Smart Buildings will eventually become Smart Houses, enabling this same technology to achieve the same results in every home in North America. Value: Technology transfer to everyone; lower residential electricity costs; lower stress on the electricity grid.
There is a significant amount of opportunity for Smart Buildings to have a real impact on all of our lives. If we work in Office Buildings, we may notice it sooner, but even if you work out of your house, pay attention t some of the amazing developments that will trickle down in the near future.
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Thanks for reading.