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A Smart Building Is........ (Fill in the Blank)

smart building

Back in the day, (2012) I wrote the following:

Some people collect comics; some art. Some collect sports memorabilia, others coins. I could go on. I collect intelligent building definitions. Not really, but I thought I'd share some of the definitions I have managed to collect. While each definition offers its own perspective, it is interesting to see the similarities and the differences.

Of course there is no right one or wrong one. Pinning down an exact definition isn't easy in a market that continues to be disruptive. However one thing is common, intelligent buildings, smart buildings deliver measurable value.

(I have purposely omitted the names of the individuals and organizations associated with these to protect the innocent).

1. Smart buildings are well managed, integrated physical and digital infrastructures that provide optimal occupancy services in a reliable, cost effective, and sustainable manner. Smarter buildings help their owners, operators and facility managers improve asset reliability and performance that in turn, reduces energy use, optimizes how space is used and minimizes the environmental impact of their buildings.

2. A smart building is the integration of building, technology, and energy systems. These systems may include building automation, life safety, telecommunications, user systems and facility management systems. Smart buildings recognize and reflect the technological advancements and convergence of building systems, the common elements of the systems and the additional functionality that integrated systems provide. Smart buildings provide actionable information about a building or space within a building to allow the building owner or occupant to manage the building or space.

3. Identifying responsible practices in site location and materials selection for new construction; Defining and incorporating intelligent information infrastructure into the building architecture; Developing simple, flexible, and scalable network systems for buildings; Incorporating power-management for network systems.

4. A smart building is one that provides actionable information regarding the performance of building systems and facilities; proactively monitors and detects errors or deficiencies in building systems; integrates systems to an enterprise business level for real-time reporting and management utilization of operations, energy and occupant comfort; incorporates the tools, technologies, resources and practices to contribute to energy conservation and environmental sustainability.

5. A smart-building is one that leverages an existing building's systems information infrastructure to enable energy and operational savings through continuous, data-driven analytics and remote implementation.

6. Smart buildings means buildings empowered by ICT (information and communication technologies) in the context of the merging Ubiquitous Computing and the Internet of Things: the generalization in instrumenting buildings with sensors, actuators, micro-chips, micro- and nano-embedded systems will allow to collect, filter and produce more and more information locally, to be further consolidated and managed globally according to business functions and services.

7. Only solutions which create the greatest synergies between energy efficiency, comfort and safety and security will be sustainable over the long term...­ solutions that turn buildings into living organisms: networked, intelligent, sensitive and adaptable.

8. Technology alone won't do it. We realize that the smartest part of smart buildings is people and wants to engage them. Providing feedback and information through a dashboard is a good start. With smart technology, we can learn anything we want about a building and optimize its performance. But real performance means happier, more productive tenants. And that requires insights into the hearts and minds of the people inside. What a dashboard can really do is enable better decisions, inspire participation, spread knowledge and best practices, communicate at a human scale and propagate new norms in how we use our buildings.

Do any of these align with you? Or do you have a definition? Whichever definition you align yourself with or combination thereof, at the end of the day, smart buildings involves connectivity, integration and interoperability to enable buildings to use less energy, operate at lower costs and safer, contribute to our environment and deliver value to multiple stake holders.

So now that we’re in 2015, do any of these still resonate with you? Have advances in technology changed how we define a smart building? What market factors have influenced what a smart building is? How has the perception of a smart building changed?

I’ll offer my definition…..”A smart building is one that uses operational and IT technologies and processes to make it a better performing building----one that delivers lower operating costs, uses less energy, maximizes system and equipment lifetime value, is cyber secured and produces measurable value for multiple stake holders”.

What’s yours?