What Is Smart Building Architecture?

The future of design is here, so it’s time to get up-close and personal with smart building architecture.

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As the saying goes, the three things that matter most in real estate are “location, location, location.” That’s changing, however. Now it matters just as much, if not more, if a building is equipped to deliver the kinds of technologically advanced, personalized experiences that modern customers and tenants have come to expect.

Investors poured $9.5B into property technology — or “proptech,” as it’s known — in 2021. The global smart building market is expected to reach nearly $142 billion by 2028. Occupants want the connectivity, comfort, and ecological sensitivity of smart buildings, while owners want the efficiency, information, and savings they provide.How smart buildings reduce operating expenses and unlock revenue opportunities

Let’s dive deeper into the concept of smart building design and how it can be used to improve the world.

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What is smart building architecture?

What should architects consider when designing buildings for smart technology?

What are the benefits of smart building architecture?

Reduced energy consumption

Improved building efficiency

Improved Maintenance

Better Productivity

Better Resource Consumption

What are the key components of smart building architecture and how do they operate together?

How do smart buildings fit into commercial real estate development?

What is smart building architecture?

Smart building architecture involves planning for, and facilitating the inclusion of, complex systems that maximize the efficiency of a facility’s operation while also improving the well-being of its occupants. Though the term can refer to the actual construction of a building, it increasingly references the design phase, ensuring a new building’s earliest conceptualization factors in smart infrastructure.

Smart building architecture allows for the future implementation of systems such as those in the Capital Tower in Singapore, for example. They include:

  • Motion detectors in the elevator lobby and restrooms detect room occupancy so that energy is only used when people are occupying those areas.
  • Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide detectors in the parking area as well as office spaces to ensure occupant safety.
  • The parking garage tracks available spaces in real-time and directs drivers to empty spots.

What should architects consider when designing buildings for smart technology?

When designing buildings for smart technology, there are some things that architects need to be aware of and take into consideration.

  • Connectivity. A strong system needs to be established that allows for the sensors and other devices to clearly and easily communicate with the Internet.  
  • Health. It is important to keep the inhabitants of the building healthy. This can be done by using different sensors to ensure that air quality is good, the temperatures are balanced, and more.
  • Safety. Safety systems to keep the building’s inhabitants safe is key in designing buildings for smart technology. These can include things such as emergency notification systems, gunshot detection technology, AI threat detection, and more.
  • Energy. One of the reasons to build smart buildings is to cut down on energy consumption. So, it is important to always ensure eco-conscious decisions are being made in the building, including things such as sensors that allow lights only to be used when a room capacity is at a certain level.
  • Cybersecurity. With all the data being collected in the building, security is vital. How will this data be protected?

What are the benefits of smart building architecture?

The increased cost of smart building architecture is well worth the payoffs that result. Here are some of the benefits of using this method of architecture.

  • Improved operational efficiency: Sensors play a major role in smart building strategy, as they allow for data and information to be gathered on the ways the building is used. This means that the building can then adjust things such as light, as exists in the Capital Tower restrooms and elevator lobby.
  • Improved Maintenance: Through the use of digital twins and similar technology, smart building construction allows for more efficient maintenance. Technicians can use indoor navigation to reach repairs quickly, while predictive maintenance schedules can anticipate potential shutdowns before they occur.
  • Better Productivity: From office temperature to meeting room scheduling, smart building architecture prioritizes the comfort of occupants. A frictionless environment leads to happier, more productive tenants.
  • Better Resource Usage: Smart buildings are particularly beneficial for optimizing resource usage, even across large complexes. Sensors can track assets such as pieces of hospital equipment across locations, monitor overall energy consumption, and even analyze foot traffic. Facility managers can see at a glance where resources are being used and optimize their allocation.

What are the key components of smart building architecture and how do they operate together?

There are four main components of smart building architecture:

  1. IoT sensors: IoT (Internet of Things) sensors are used to monitor the environment in terms of things such as temperature, motion, light, air quality, and more. The sensors communicate with an access point in the building, and that information is shared with a gateway which then gathers all the data and stores it in the cloud to be accessed when needed.
  2. Analytics software: Having the information gathered by the sensors is valuable, but it’s key to also think about how people will be able to understand it. That’s where analytics software comes in. This data shows how to take information and turn it into action to improve the building.
  3. User interface: Systems are useless if they’re difficult to use. Consider things such as displays, computer screens, and language options. This is an important piece of the puzzle because it ensures that the systems are actually utilized by people in the building, which impacts the building and the systems’ success.
  4. Connectivity: Internet access is no longer a bonus, it’s a necessity. Strong, reliable WiFi is a boon for occupants, but not ideal for security. Thus, infrastructure for Ethernet cables is also a vital element of smart building design.

All of the above four components are needed for smart building architecture to provide its full value. IoT sensors and user interface gather data, the analytics software turns data into something that is digestible, and connectivity allows for it all to be stored, shared, analyzed, and used.

How do smart buildings fit into commercial real estate development?

Smart building design architecture has the potential to allow commercial real estate owners to take their business to the next level.

The systems in smart buildings gather data that is unique to each location. Developers can gain greater understanding of the needs of local populations and businesses, taking trends into account when making decisions for further development..

A commercial real estate developer may also find that smart building architecture allows them a bigger net operating income (NOI), due to the lower costs in operating experiences that go along with this new form of architecture. Some CRE owners have been able to take the information gathered by smart building technology to claim utility bill credits and switch to the best utility rate based on the building’s specific energy use, for example. In addition to that, the tenant-centric approach of smart buildings can be a differentiator in a crowded landscape.

Property development is a complex balancing of expenses and profits, but smart building architecture is a wise investment. Not only does it make structures more appealing for occupants, but it also makes them more financially efficient. Everyone wins. Smart, isn’t it?

Are you ready to learn more? Get in touch with Resonai today and set up a free demonstration.

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