Thursday, November 30

Smart Buildings – Living Green in a Big Way

How to live green, find green materials, and go green.

Smart Buildings

In recent years we have heard more and more about how we need to live green, go green with the products we use, and of course build with green materials. In our series of Green Articles, you will read much about Smart Systems, or Integrated Systems in the “Intelligent” Buildings or “Smart” Buildings. What are they, and who is building them?

Intelligent or Smart Buildings (referred to as SB’s hereafter) are basically any building that has incorporated streamline operations which deliver better service to their end users. Many would call this a “Smart System”. This system will help you live green in many ways.

A decade or two ago, you may have immediately thought of the Jetson’s when confronted with the idea, that an elevator could sense you without even touching the button. Or that anyone could program their lights to turn on from down the street, or Internet service would be called Wi-Fi and be hard wired into your apartment building. Look how far we have come today.

One example of an SB is One American Plaza in San Diego, California. The Broadband infrastructure alone in this building affords free Wi-Fi, Tablet PCs and PDAs, to each tenant, and adds to a higher quality service.

Many building owners and developers want to live green, or go green, and they are located in North America and overseas. They are coming to the realization that to compete, they must change, and develop the SB’s of the future too. They must use green materials in every step of the building process.

SB’s are not built on the same design, construction, and operation process of the past either. The approach needed for the successful development of “intelligent buildings” requires innovative strategies and usually consist of a team of Developers and Architects to incorporate their ideas into reality.

While there is no actual definition for an Intelligent building, or Smart Building, they do have several things in common with each other.

They integrate distinct systems which can be controlled by a centralized common user interface such as a Computer. Every part of the building communications system is a shared network throughout the structure. The high-performance systems of these buildings require that the building owners, and/or property and facility management, are highly trained professionals who understand this technology. This benefits the end-users.

These buildings have a capacity built in, that will maximize its own performance and efficiency. This is accomplished by integrating all systems such as lighting, HVAC, safety, power management, security (access control, video surveillance, and visitor management), seismic and structural monitoring, environmental conditions, including temperature, air flow, and air chemistry and more into one centrally controlled system.

The technology is likened to a Central Nervous System incorporating building strategies set to calculate and then alter its own performance and functions. This has an added long-term sustainable value and overall efficiency and savings to the property.