Smart buildings: automation, sustainability and savings

Smart gadgets are in trend now and many are already using them successfully. What about smart buildings? Let's figure out why they were called that and whether they really help to preserve nature.


Imagine that your apartment has become very economical: heating and air conditioning are turned on when they really need it, powerful electrical appliances work at night, and some of the electricity comes from an alternative source - for example, from solar panels installed on the roof. You know for sure that you are using the planet's resources rationally and now do less harm to the environment than before. Alas, while such a scenario looks fantastic, and the average inhabitant of the planet is trying to use public goods to the maximum, without thinking about saving. However, humanity is slowly but surely moving towards conscious consumption, and in many ways this idea is reflected in smart buildings.


How the smart building concept came about

Often, smart (also green or intelligent) buildings are not called buildings themselves - residential buildings, offices, libraries, etc. - but systems that are responsible for their life support, comfort and safety. Their main task is to economically use the main resources: water, heat and electricity. Why at some point it became important for a person?


All buildings in the world consume up to 42% of electricity in total. This is more than any resource-intensive industry like oil production or metal processing. About 50% of the water that enters buildings is lost, and residential and other buildings have become the main source of greenhouse gases on a global scale. Smart buildings should, if not completely, then at least partially solve these problems and help conserve natural resources that people consume at an incredible speed.


Initially, smart was called “buildings ready for change” - the engineering systems of which are able to ensure their adaptation to possible changes in the future.


Signs of smart buildings

Life support systems are constantly exchanging data and are centrally controlled. This applies to lighting, water meters, heat pumps, heating, fire alarms, air conditioning and other equipment. Even elevators can be part of an intelligent building management program.


There are many sensors that collect data and transmit it to the “brains of the system”. She makes the final decision on what changes to make to the life support system of the building, and then sends the appropriate commands to the control devices.


Smart buildings work more economically the fewer people are inside, and vice versa, and can also extend the life of the main equipment involved in the operation.


Man is an important link in building automation. It helps intelligent components work more efficiently, but for maximum effect, automation must be incorporated into the design phase.


What benefits do people get from smart buildings?

For the benefit of the planet, everything is clear: green buildings spend less energy that is not renewable, use natural resources rationally and have less impact on the environment. But a person is also interested in the growth of the number of intelligently controlled buildings in the world:


sensors, and after them automated systems, quickly respond to changes in the environment (for example, when the temperature or humidity changes) and create a comfortable environment for life.

In smart buildings, those processes are automated that correspond to their functional purpose and are effective in terms of economy. For example, in a library located in a hot climate, air conditioners respond quickly to the slightest increase in temperature and humidity - they start operating at maximum power in those rooms where there are most readers, and in storage rooms with books that are sensitive to moisture. If it's an office building, it will have sophisticated security and access restrictions. It is convenient when it works in close conjunction with lighting and air conditioning: when people leave the room, the lighting devices are automatically turned off and the cooling power is reduced to a minimum. And if it's a computer center built next to a cold mountain river, its owners can save money by using free cooling.


Examples of smart buildings around the world

The research company Navigant Research has calculated that in 2020 the global market for smart buildings will reach $ 8.5 billion (in 2016 it was $ 4.7 billion). This means that in the near future we will witness the emergence of a large number of new smart buildings.


Officially, the first smart building was the Throne House, which was designed by Japanese professor Ken Sakamura in the late 1980s. In it, special sensors collect information about weather events, and then send the command to open windows when a fresh breeze is blowing, or increase cooling capacity when it gets too hot. If the telephone rings inside, the sound of the operating audio system is automatically muted.


In the suburbs of Seattle, one of the most expensive smart buildings was built - the house of Bill Gates. The engineering systems that serve the building operate autonomously and with minimal damage to the environment. A separate system provides a comfortable temperature, humidity and light level for plants, and robotic vacuum cleaners are turned on when the concentration of dust in the air increases.


At Sony's Tokyo-based division, solar panels shelter the south-facing fa├žade. On the roof, there are special containers for collecting rainwater, and the interior is organized so that employees suffer less from heat and use less air conditioning. The uniqueness of the local cooling system is that it operates without electricity: the collected rainwater circulates through clay pipes and evaporates, cools the air in the building. If the cooling intensity needs to be reduced, the tubes are covered with shutters.


The Deloitte office building also has every right to be smart. It automatically adjusts temperature, humidity and lighting depending on the preferences of employees, and an intelligent system will also offer them a suitable parking space. The office has a huge panel that displays information about the resources spent: from kilowatts of electricity to the weight of coffee beans for a coffee machine.


The first supermarket with the green building status was the Billa store in Austria, which received the EU green building certificate. To reduce energy consumption and the impact on the environment, they use electronic regulation of the power of heaters, installed fans with low energy consumption, developed a special air duct that takes into account the specifics of the building, and installed evaporators with a large working area. The heat generated by refrigeration units is reused to heat the interior.


In 2018, the first smart residential building appeared in Russia, which was designed by the efforts of Skolkovo residents and a large developer. The residential complex has automatic access control using face recognition and an automated control system for the operation of elevators, when residents do not have to manually select the desired floor. The authors of this project are silent about "green" technologies, but the building has definitely become a big step towards the safety and comfort of residents.


Smart Homes or Smart Buildings?

A smart building is like an advanced version of a smart home. To organize it in your living space, you need a little: desire and a set of smart electronics with a hub. Everything you need for a smart home device can be purchased from OnlineLime. Kits for video surveillance with outdoor and indoor cameras and three kits with sensors are available separately: "Basic", "Advanced" and "Management". To follow what is happening at home online from anywhere in the world, download the Rostelecom Smart Home mobile application on your smartphone ( Android , iOS ) in advance . And individual components can be bought in our online store - for example, a smart LED light bulb or a smart plug. Don't miss the opportunity to make your home safer, more comfortable and more sustainable.

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