Smart buildings start with awareness

by Dave Michels

I want to work in an energy-efficient smart building. It would have advanced energy systems that would ensure no watt gets wasted. It would have lighting, like my fridge, that would magically turn off when unneeded, and doors that would reliably swish open Star Trek-style when and only when appropriate.

Unfortunately, most buildings aren’t like that today. The majority of commercial buildings are relatively barbaric with primitive infrastructure oblivious to its purpose or costs. Far too often, building managers lack basic visibility into the infrastructure they are responsible for.

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However, times have changed, and today it’s appropriate to be green, although the interpretation of “green” ranges from environmental to financial motivations. Of course, a building with smart infrastructure might not always be viable. Renters wouldn’t want to pay for the upgrades. And, as long as infrastructure is otherwise working, it might not be green at all to replace it. A better option could be to focus on visibility.

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