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Commitment and Collaboration - key takeaways from the Smart Building Show 2023

07 November 2023

Smart tech and smart buildings are now becoming a priority for business leaders and owners, but the current climate challenges require commitment and collaboration. At the recent Smart Buildings show we learnt more on how smart buildings are part of a solution to a complex problem:

1. Data, data, data – Data is critical for the development, creation and running of smart buildings. Developers, landlords and occupiers need data to do almost anything when it comes to smart buildings – whether that is data about room temperatures, carbon dioxide, lighting, energy and utility usage or anything else.

2. Data sharing – It was unanimously agreed that landlords and occupiers need to share the data they collect and work together to use this information to improve the functionality and performance of the building. Collecting data without openly sharing data will not serve any benefit.

3. Data ownership – The question came up as to who owns the data that’s collected. Is it the developers of the building, the landlord, the occupier or the network providers? The question remains unanswered and work needs to be undertaken to establish an answer to this to facilitate the sharing of data.

4. You can sometimes have too much data – As with many aspects of life, quality is often more important than quantity, and this is no different when it comes to collecting data. After all, data is only valuable if you can use it to make better or “smarter” decisions. Too much data can sometimes be overwhelming and worthless.

5. Decarbonising existing buildings - Retrofitting gives biggest opportunity for change, it’s relatively easy to make new buildings smart and energy efficient. Retrofitting, on the other hand, is much more complicated - but elongating the life of existing assets by carrying out retrofitting projects is arguably the best way to make the biggest impact in reducing carbon footprints.

6. Retrofitting is here to stay – The technology which will be used in buildings in 2050 isn’t here yet and so it is very likely that the new buildings being constructed today will require at least some retrofitting in the future.

7. Staff training is key – While investing in technology for a smart building is clearly fundamental, investing in staff training to use that technology is just as important. All building services staff should have regular training about how everything works and about what to do if the systems experience a fault.

8. BMS can help improve wellbeing – Although building management systems are primarily used to manage energy and sustainability targets, these same systems can also play an important role in improving the wellbeing of staff. For example, building sensors can help monitor humidity, air-quality and the presence of fine dust particles, and this data is then fed back and used to tweak conditions and improve office environments.

9. Landlords need to lead the way – While occupiers will demand buildings which are digitally enabled to help them reach their net zero targets, they don’t have the answers to all of the questions and so landlords will do well show the way forward when it comes to building technology. Many landlords test the smart services and systems in their own offices before rolling them out across portfolios.

10. Achieving green goals – It is possible to achieve your ‘green goals’ through the use of smart buildings if you also commit to collecting, sharing and using data together with making ‘smart’ fit out choices and actively training your staff. It’s not too late to start reversing the impact that real estate has on the climate crisis.

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