Can a building be smarter than the people who work in it?
It’s no joke. Buildings are getting smarter all the time. With modern systems that link lighting, HVAC, water, access control, scheduling, security, signage and facilities management, demonstrable savings along with an enhanced reputation are there for the taking. Getting there, however, can be challenging with issues that range from perceptual to practical, technical to territorial and dollars to design.
“A truly smart building has to show its value to the business, and that requires a deep understanding of the kind of business that goes on there — office building, college campus, shopping mall, factory, or house of worship” says Michael Carter, director of Integrated Building Solutions at AMX, the Richardson, Texas developer of environment-management solutions. “Both the building owner and occupier have to be sold on the value and so far many do not perceive a value.”
They should perceive a value. Integrated, or smart building technology is the next big growth opportunity, encompassing equipment manufacturers, architects, specifying engineers, integrators and independent programmers, says Doug Jacobson, senior R&D engineer at New Jersey-based solutions manufacturer Crestron. “Those who choose to embrace it, who are willing to endure the learning curve of moving outside their comfort zone will be in a position of strength in the coming years.”
Getting those disciplines to work together is the key to success, Jacobson says. “The biggest mistake is not including integration as a critical part of the design process from the earliest stages. It’s hard to have a successful project when a building’s technology silos are designed in a vacuum.” Failure, of course, is not an option.
Smart, real-time building management is not about “going green.” Smart and green are not the same thing. While both have environmental awareness and savings at their heart, going green