C+S August 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 8 (web)

Aligning Smart Building Implementation with Performance Expectations

By Drew Deatherage, ESS/RTPM

The SPIRE Smart Buildings Program by UL, an independent assessment and rating program for smart buildings, identifies six key building experiences enhanced by smart systems: 1. Power and energy: In addition to tracking and analyzing energy use, integrated systems support grid interoperability and help manage distributed energy resources. 2. Health and wellbeing: These systems manage indoor air quality and thermal comfort, control light and noise, ensure potable water, and reduce odors. 3. Life safety and property security: Integrated systems can enhance situational awareness and emergency communications. 4. Connectivity: In addition to ensuring accessibility, integrated systems can bolster security, extend coverage, and operate more resiliently. 5. Cybersecurity: Integrated systems can more proactively identify threats and protect, detect, respond, and speed recovery. Good cybersecurity hygiene is a must for hyper connected buildings. 6. Sustainability: This goal becomes much easier to achieve with systems that ensure metrics established by leading global sustainability programs are being met. Improvements in any one of these areas can lower a building’s operating costs, among other benefits. However, performance can degrade over time. This is particularly true of complex systems that may require ongoing monitoring or add to maintenance demands. This performance drop can be prevented with a more holistic approach to smart building design.

The smart building market continues to grow, with expectations that it will be a $ 304.3 billion market by 2032, reports Market.US. Yet once in operation, many building owners find these investments don’t live up to their promise. Instead, smart building sensors become one more burden to maintain. This difference between expectation and a positive ROI often lies in the implementation of smart building technology. A smart building isn’t the result of installing more sensors and adding more intelligent systems. It’s the result of a strategy that begins with understanding the desired user experiences, is followed by choosing the right technology to deliver those experiences, and ends with delivering that experience through a platform that integrates building systems. With the right systems and appropriate integration, systems are ultimately easier for owners to use and maintain. The right systems integrated with the right software can aggregate data that helps building owners make more informed decisions. Engineers can help achieve this level of system interoperability by bringing technology infrastructure earlier into design conversations. Define system integration based on end-user experience MEP systems are often at the center of smart building performance, which makes it critical that engineers be involved in early discussions on integration. However, these discussions should focus less on specific systems and more on the experience the building owner wants to create for building occupants. This big picture perspective can help identify the appropriate technologies to install, and the level of integration required to achieve the targeted end-user experience.




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