Intelligent Buildings Get Smarter with Information Technology

Would you like to know how your building investments are performing on a daily basis? An intelligent building networked to a variety of systems and adaptable to changes in occupancy and function can do just that.

Navigant Research defines an intelligent building as one based on IT technologies, which translate system data into actions that improve performance. The benefits of these brainy buildings go beyond lower utility bills and more efficient operations. They include:

  • Improved occupant comfort and satisfaction
  • Better information for making capital decisions during planning cycles
  • Measurement and verification of efficiency enhancements
  • Visible and consistent data for measuring and achieving sustainability goals
  • Reduced maintenance problems and costs with fault detection and diagnostics
  • A more holistic view of building operations

IT technologies enable access to building data across a variety of applications. An open platform like Project Haystack is key to this access. Project Haystack was created to develop naming conventions and taxonomies for building equipment and operational data. All work developed by this initiative is available for use as open-source software.

Building analytics software turns big data into cost-saving measures using data from building automation systems (BAS). The Internet of Things (IoT) plays a major role by providing the infrastructure for connectivity and data acquisition. This enables buildings to anticipate and respond to the presence of occupants and their preferences.

How do you make your buildings intelligent? First, determine your objectives, such as energy savings, operational efficiency, occupant engagement or sustainability. Get buy-in from all stakeholders so you can establish a budget. You need a champion — such as an energy manager or engineer — who understands the value of proper operations.

Next, determine the scope of the data and what functions to integrate; tagging and consistent naming conventions are critical to making this information usable. Once data is properly categorized, you’ll have useful information — if the data is accurate.

According to Navigant, intelligent building technologies will eventually be able to optimize other resources, such as water and waste. And with full integration and automation, they’ll be able to leverage facilities for complete dynamic grid integration and siting distributed energy resources.