Impressive smart solutions – Buildings of the future are already here

A smart building uses technology to obtain data to enable automatic, efficient, and economical use of resources while maintaining a safe and pleasant environment for occupants.

What makes a building smart?

Typically, a smart building is a “new build”, but the term can also apply to legacy buildings retrofitted with smart technology. In either case, Internet of Things (IoT), building management systems, and artificial intelligence are used to control and optimize the performance of the building. – says Pippa Boothman, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Disruptive Technologies

Following the footsteps of Disruptive Technologies, here are 5 smart buildings that use technology in different ways but to the same end: sustainability, productivity, and wellbeing.

The Crystal, London

The Crystal became the first building in London to achieve BREEAM Outstanding and Platinum LEED sustainability rankings when it opened in 2012.

The 100% electric building generates around 70% less CO2 than similar buildings through a combination of rainwater harvesting, black water treatment, solar heating, and automated building management systems.

Around 20% of the electricity needed is generated by the solar photovoltaic roof panels that cover two-thirds of the roof. Ground source heat pumps supply the building’s heating and most of its cooling. By using 100% natural heat sources, the building receives no heating bill.

Self-shading facades allow around 70% of visible light through each window but only about 30% of the solar energy. A lighting control system manages all lamps for optimized electricity consumption and a window control system allows air in from outside or closes automatically during extreme weather.

Leadenhall Building, London

London’s second tallest building, the Leadenhall Building has extensive use of IoT technology. During the construction, RFID-based data tags helped builders and construction companies to track the location of components and installation. This enabled around 83% of the construction to be completed off-site, streamlining the building process, improving project management and control of the building works.

The building includes smart features like 293 energy meters on-site to monitor the use of lighting, intelligent and state of the art lifts that can go from the ground floor to the top (48th) floor in 30 seconds as well as low-flow water fixtures and fittings and external glazing which includes vents every seventh floor to let air circulate freely, reducing the need for AC systems

The Edge, Amsterdam

The Edge in Amsterdam with 28,000 pieces has perhaps the world’s largest deployment of IoT sensors in a single location. The sensors collect data for motion, light, temperature, and humidity to adapt the building to real-time requirements. For example, areas can automatically be shut down or closed when no one is present, thereby saving energy. – Pippa Boothman notes. 

The building reuses energy through excess ventilation air from offices to air-condition the atrium space. In the Edge rainwater is also used to flush toilets and irrigate the green terraces and garden areas surrounding the building. Two 129m deep wells reach down to an aquifer, allowing thermal energy differentials to be stored deep underground.

Also, an employee app, combined with data from sensors, provides personalized schedules, access control around the building, assistance finding a workspace or parking place.

Allianz Arena, Munich

The Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany is a football stadium with a capacity of 70,000 spectators. The stadium uses the latest smart technology to provide a pleasant and safe environment for both the football club and its supporters. 

For example, acoustic cameras with sound mapping software are used to study how fans respond throughout the game. Even the grass is handled in a smart way as sensors and cloud-based analytics monitor the pitch: if it is too cold the grass is heated, if it is too dry it will be watered.

The spectacular external lighting system is energy efficient and saves approximately 60% on electricity and 362 tons of CO2 per year compared to other similar facilities.

DPR Construction Net-Zero Energy San Francisco Regional Office

The DPR office in San Francisco incorporates cost-saving and environmentally-friendly features to achieve net-zero energy certification. But the building also serves as a lab to test the newest and most intelligent energy-efficient products on the market.

It uses countless smart features, including 300 photovoltaic panels to generate renewable energy, rooftop solar thermal water heating system, electrochromic windows, ultra-energy-efficient ceiling fans, living walls and ultra-low flow and flush plumbing fixtures

The Net-Zero Building (NZEB) Certification means that the total amount of energy used yearly by the building is equal to or less than the amount of energy created onsite through the use of innovative technologies and renewable power generation.

These examples show how buildings can integrate IoT and smart building technology in many different ways. And seeing the growing demand for buildings to become more energy-efficient and to lower their CO2 footprint, intelligent buildings are here to stay.




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