The first buildings ever constructed were perhaps shelter consisting of sticks, stones, leaves and animal skins. Today we have skyscrapers, several hundreds meters high. We have come a long way since the start and have made great advancements in the field of technology. Modern day buildings are equipped with all the basic necessities such as lighting, security, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. But today, building owners are looking towards the energy efficiency and technological smartness of their building. For this purpose, it is not enough to just provide the necessities mentioned before, they have to be connected in a way that allows them to be greener and more efficient to manage.
This brings to the now real subject of smart buildings. In simpler words, a smart building delivers all the services that make the lives of the occupants productive and comfortable, at a lower cost and environmental impact. In order for smooth operation of these systems and subsystems, information technology is used. This allows the systems and subsystems to operate much more efficiently, saving energy and having less impact on the environment.
There are already many buildings that are considered too smart, let’s take the Glumac in Shanghai for instance.
It features an indoor air monitoring system that allows employees to see the toxicity of indoor air on their mobile devices, based on monitored oxygen levels, volatile organic compound (VOC) levels, humidity and particulate matter measurements. Fortunately for workers, Glumac has five air purification systems and a planted green wall to weed out the often-unbearable pollution outside the building.
Then there is the DPR Construction’s San Francisco office, which is equipped with photovoltaic (PV) panels – generating energy from UV.
Moreover, it also has a rooftop solar thermal water heating system, intelligent electrochromic windows, ultra-energy efficient ceiling fans and a living horticulture wine bar.
Next on the list is The Bullitt Center in Seattle, the unique factor that separates this from other buildings is that it was built to have a 250 year lifespan.
The Bullitt Center’s features include net zero energy, net zero water, net zero carbon, composting toilets, toxic-free materials and utilises over 80% of daylight with its high-performance windows. The Bullitt center also has the world’s only 6 story composting toilet system and has 575 solar panels which allow it to operate with net zero energy. Now that is what we call smart!
We finish this article looking at The Edge (Deloitte HQ), this building is dubbed as the smartest building in the world by Bloomberg.
The Edge features the world’s most efficient aquifer thermal energy storage system, a water-efficient trickle-down, rainwater toilet water system, and a human-powered gym. Furthermore, there are sensors in the LED light panels, which report detailed temperature and humidity readings across a floor. Deloitte, the building’s main tenant uses a smartphone app to optimize the efficiency and productivity of its employees. From automatically directing employees to an open parking spot for their cars to directing them to an open workstation, the app knows employees’ preferences for light and temperature, and it tweaks the environment accordingly. Now that is what I call smart!