Changing How We Think About Buildings

The global market for energy efficient buildings is expected to pass £175 billion this year and reach £275 billion by 2026, with the development of connected technology leading the way.

Smart buildings, which use sensors to collect data about heating, air conditioning and lighting systems and automatically adjust settings, are at the heart of the trend. And thanks to better understanding of how it can be used, Serena Wolfe of Ernst & Young says the data is “changing the way we think about buildings”.

She told people have historically ignored the data available to them, but now the ability to effectively capture and analyse it not only reduces costs, but also improves the user experience.

“Many think the concept of smart buildings is making sure that the HVAC and electrical systems all talk to each other. But it’s more than that, “said Ms Wolfe. “At the guts, a smart building is about collecting and analysing data, and then using that data to make better decisions about operating that building.”

Historically, owners couldn’t see or use information about the flow of people over the course of a day. Now, they can see how tenants use a building and adapt the system to those needs.

But the benefits go even further, as understanding maintenance schedules and likely breakdown scenarios facilitates the prevention of problems. Ms Wolfe gave the example of predicting when an elevator might develop a fault, or learning the optimum time to replace air conditioning filters.

And shrewd owners are realising that simply providing office space is no longer enough to attract and keep modern companies. “To ensure that they are able to retain their tenants, they have to offer them more.”

For more information on smart buildings and connected technology, read our analysis of Navigant’s 10 Trends for Intelligent Buildings in 2017 and Beyond.

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