Smart Buildings and the Resurgence of the Workplace

Technological advancements have seen a significant change in how people live in the last few decades.

For instance, the invention of the internet and instantaneous worldwide connectivity has changed how we work, socialize, and shop. It’s only natural for technology to permeate into the built environment as well.

And more so now that we are facing catastrophic climate change effects thanks to our buildings. According to UNHabitat, buildings account for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. That said, there is a pressing interest in learning how people might live more sustainably and be in tune with the world’s ecosystems in all facets of life.

This has led to the popularity of the discussion around smart buildings and cities. Proposals seek to make use of technology to raise standards of living, protect the environment, and offer solutions to the effects of buildings on our ecosystems.

This post seeks to address smart buildings and how they can revolutionize the workspace, now that people are going back to their jobs after the long period of remote working after the COVID-19 outbreak:

COVID-19 and the Workplace

Smart buildings are primarily designed to improve the occupants’ experience. They seek to enhance the health and safety of workers, promote effective energy management, and ease building maintenance. Health is of particular importance now that COVID-19 seems to be here to stay.

As people go back to work, smart buildings are being seen as solutions to facilitate typical operations while maintaining worker safety. Companies have prioritized public health, autonomy, and adaptability in the workplace. Energy efficiency has also received attention since buildings have to be updated to fit new standards of being unoccupied for extended periods of time.

Smart Buildings are Safer, Smarter, and Sleeker

Industrial advancements are pretty evident in the built environment, particularly in lighting, plumbing, and heating systems. These are historical examples of how new information was applied to create better conditions in buildings. Instant data has however never been used by buildings to make real-time judgments and bring about immediate change which is why smart buildings are one-of-a-kind.

They can adapt to a specific context based on data feedback from sensors. Since Covid-19 had a global impact, other organizations have assessed their surroundings for risk, considered hybrid working, and looked into measures to improve their working conditions.

How Do Smart Buildings Improve the Workplace?

Smart buildings are proving to be beneficial, whether it’s through enhanced energy efficiency or worker health and safety, but how?

  • IoT Sensors

These are built-in sensors that track everything from movement and temperature to humidity and air pressure. They help facility managers and employers in understanding all parameters of an inhabited building.

They can, for instance, track the number of people in a building, identify where and how they are, and understand their comfort levels thanks to the assessment of the airflow. With this, they can optimize the health and safety of occupied space. Such sensors also improve security and autonomy in access.

  • HVAC Systems

HVAC technology in smart buildings optimizes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Using smart HVAC systems helps a building respond to its environment for increased energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. For instance, when a space is not occupied, the building can turn off the lights and lower the heating through sensors that respond to consumption in real-time.

  • Analytics Software

This translates sensor data and uses it to identify fault patterns that need to be fixed.

  • User Interface Technology

This refers to how information is presented to the end user and building operators. It aids in the early and clear identification of potential problems. When information is presented in an intuitive and usable manner, building maintenance problems can be identified as soon as possible.

Smart Buildings in Practice – CapitaSpring, Singapore

We wanted the owners to share their insights on smart buildings as the Smart Buildings Conference 2021 drew near. It is a 93,000 square meter tower, which incorporates an “office of the future” in its design, and is pushing the boundaries of what is feasible for technologically advanced structures.

The building not only has office space, but it also has a serviced apartment and retail space. To create a green, environmentally friendly area, tropical vegetation is woven together with steel and glass textures that contrast with one another.

Visitors are welcomed by a park and rainforest plaza as soon as they enter the building, giving them the chance to roam around, be exposed to more light, and make better use of their leisure time. The tower contains activity pockets that were created especially for exercise classes, transient art installations, and other neighborhood events.

With this intelligent building design, there is no wasted space; everything has a purpose and improves the user experience in sustainable and self-sufficient ways. People can move throughout the building in a secure, well-lit manner while still having interaction opportunities.

The tower’s lush landscaping helps to purify the air, and it is equipped with sensors, internet-of-things (IoT) technology, and artificial intelligence capabilities that let visitors customize their experience there.