Posted on 9 July 2019

What is a Smart Building and what are its benefits? 

Automatically turn the lights on or off in a room? Change the temperature in the room to the climate you want? Find an available workplace before you even start searching? These are just a few functionalities of a smart building. In this blog Wouter Kok, CEO of  bGrid, discusses what a smart building is and how it can be of great value for both the user ánd the owner of the building.   


The most important task of a smart building is to optimize the work environment for the people who live or work in the building. Smart building technology focuses on the user and serves as a personal assistant. What does the air quality from outside mean for the air quality inside and what effect does that have on the people in the building? Do you also detest entering a meeting room where a meeting with many people has just ended, where the air is like a damp, smelly blanket and the heat is even worse due to the warmth of the sun shining on the room? How great would it be if you could set your meeting room in advance to the desired temperature and maximum freshness. Or where Outlook informs you on the expected room conditions when you book the room. With a smart building – a building as a personal assistant – this can become reality. In addition to the user, a smart building is also valuable for other stakeholders, such as the investor, the owner, the operator, the tenant, and the city. In an article on Facility Executive it is highlighted that the data that a smart building generates, leads to minimized energy use, thus sustainability, and can also solve other cases like intelligent space optimization.  

Adjust to the wishes of the user  
Before you go to the office, you can already get insight into how the buildings operates real time. For example, if you have to concentrate on work, the smart building data shows you where there is silence and if workplaces are available. This can also be more refined by filtering on preferred climate conditions or choosing a workplace close to your colleagues. The data allows you to see which room is available at what time and what the conditions of the room are or will be. Besides these functionalities, the user can also control the light, climate and sun blinds. These automatically controllable functionalities are very valuable for the user.  
  
Tenants are willing to pay more for smart buildings  
The measurements can generate value for the tenant who can therefore operate and use the building more effectively. The smart building system makes it possible to see the difference between a temperature complaint caused by solar heat coming in, too many people in the meeting room or a climate system that is not working as it should. By having insight into the root cause of a problem, the solution can be delivered faster. Tenant happy, user happy, operator happy, owner happy. In turn, the owner can rent the building faster with offering these insights provided by the smart building technology. This is also apparent from a research by CBRE. They carried out a survey which shows that 46% of the tenants are willing to pay an average of around 10% premium lease fee for a tech-enabled office. You offer more than any other building that does not have the smart building technology.   
  

Sustainability no longer at the expense of comfort  
In addition to the fact that this technology ensures that a building is rented out faster, it is also a future-proof building where there is a small chance of vacancy, better insight into how the building performs and more control over energy and sustainability. Sustainability is one of the key building objectives, but sustainability often comes at the expense of comfort. By making a building smart it can be made sure the comfort in the building matches with how the building is actually used. For example, with the data it can be predicted when a room will not be used and doesn’t need to be climatized, enabling you to save energy. And when it is predicted to be used, the same machine learning algorithm can be used to improve comfort. This provides enormous benefits for the owner, operator and user. A smart building can help guarantee comfort for the user while building’s energy loads are reduced.  

Ultimately, it always starts with the user, for which the smart building is created. So, a smart building is a building where you put the user’s needs first by using data, analytics and IT. But it also delivers tangible value to the other stakeholders!  

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