Saturday, July 2nd, 2022

Smart Buildings: Convergence Of Green And Intelligent Buildings


Prabhat Khare
KK Consultants
IIT Roorkee, Gold Medalist


One of the biggest reasons, for rise of Smart Buildings with time has been the changing needs of building owners, who have always been looking for possibilities and potentials to increase the building’s value and marketability. Parallelly, the building occupiers have also been looking for added advantages of new technologies applied to their work place for their safety, comfort and improvement in life styles. As technological capabilities for building management continued to grow, building owners started transforming their buildings so that their occupants can experience a more customized work space. Thus, what initially started with simple standalone office technologies like access control system, work stations, photocopiers, fax machines, desktop computers and their basic integration, became more complex with emergence and integration of data and voice over IP Phones, rise of networked PCs and later internet, making highly complex integrations of facilities, operations and their controls.

At the same time many offices were also expanding from single location to multi location operations and needed technologies to monitor and control their operations using these emerging technologies. With advancement, over the time various office services and equipment and their controls were so seamlessly integrated that now in a smart building, system could tell you what time and with whom you have an appointment; on which floor of building the conference room is vacant and ready for your set meeting, it would adjust your zone temperature based on your personal data, collected from your body

mounted devices, and will guide you to the elevator or space to use. With such level of automation, a building proposition becomes very attractive to prospective tenants or businesses looking to rent out the business spaces. Since for businesses, employees’ costs are a number one operational expense, losing one employee is the equivalent of losing 1.5x their cost because of the lag times associated with hiring and training. Because of this, many businesses emphasize employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction as most critical factor of doing business. A smart building that offers customized and personalized decision making at the fingertips of its occupants, is a building that is more likely to attract and retain its tenants or businesses.

Development Of Building Automation Over The Years From Beginning Till 1980

From the 17th century onwards, systems were designed for temperature control, the mechanical control of mills, and the regulation of steam engines. During the 19th century it became increasingly clear that feedback systems were prone to instability. A stability criterion was derived independently towards the end of the century by Routh in England and Hurwitz in Switzerland. The 19th century, too, saw the development of servomechanisms, first for ship steering and later for stabilization and autopilots.

However, its credit goes to Warren Seymour Johnson (November 6, 1847 – December 5, 1911), an American college professor who was frustrated by his inability to regulate individual classroom temperatures. His multi-zone pneumatic control system solved the problem. Johnson’s system for temperature regulation was adopted worldwide for office buildings, schools, hospitals, and hotels – essentially any large building with multiple rooms that required temperature regulation.

In the next decade or so, the non-residential control industry evolved rapidly to create a fully automatic control system operating steam/hot water, and eventually ventilation and air conditioning. With most controls and interestingly, the control logic (algorithms) operated by compressed air (air logic!).

Up until the 1970’s almost all controls (thermostats and valves) and even central control stations for large commercial buildings continued to be pneumatic. Not surprisingly, in 1980’s the conversion from pneumatic control to electric controls began with digital computers taking over the control, while most equipment in the space remained pneumatic.

1980 – 2000

By the late 1980’s the central computer began to give way to distributed digital computers (essentially process controllers) located on individual devices and communicating back to the central system. Not surprisingly, the data produced from such systems often contained valuable and sensitive information about building operations including off-normal conditions, occupants comfort problems, resource consumption details and lead to development of processes to improve them and become more efficient. During this period, the building had a standalone central building management system (BMS) with one or two sub-systems, isolated from each other, typically used to control heating and air conditioning, the lift or lighting systems and separately handling water and wastes. The control implemented by the BMS included simply switching on or off the right equipment at the right time of the day or year.

2000 – 2020

This situation rapidly changed as in response to high energy cost which forced building owners to see consumption of electricity as well as other resources like water, gas, air etc., not as a freely available commodity but as a cost of doing business. This forced them to look the conserving these resources and thus began a need to monitor and control them. This initiated the process of monitoring building performance (first locally and then remotely), and then began entry of a wide range of new systems in the building eco-system including access control system, smart metering, solar panels, climate control, automatic fire detection system, PA System and AV systems, improved HVAC and Water management systems. With time as semiconductors started becoming more powerful and their cost started to fall, low cost microchips started making inward ways in controls and automation and with explosion of Internet in 2000 as well as cloud computing, enabled a staggering range of new applications and services, as well as their complex integration. BMS was now called iBMS, with the‘i’, standing for integration or intelligent, and the buildings were called intelligent because of their highly complex networking.

2020 And Beyond

Current trend of merging of Green technologies and Intelligent building which clubs the best of both areas to form the basis of smart buildings, and is not just another incarnation of industrial control systems (ICS) or simple building management system (BMS) because smart buildings are not only just interconnection of various controls but are almost like an self-sustaining living entity connected to internet and constantly responding to changing requirements by altering their own operating parameters to meet customer needs. Also with the deep proliferation of IoT technologies, owners could tap into boundless possibilities for optimizing property operations without incurring outrageous costs – trend which is reshaping the building automation as well as building industry itself.

Progression Summary – Standalone Buildings Control To Smart Buildings Over The Decades

What Is A Smart Building?
Having gone through the development phases of building management system, the first question arises as what makes a building a Smart Building? There is no specific definition of smart building as many experts have given varied definitions based on the buildings use,
however broadly a smart building can be defined as a building which is one that is both intelligent and green. It is a building that uses best of available technologies and processes to create a facility which as a principal, apart from incorporating sustainable features in its design and construction, must also have efficient resource utilization, providing a healthy environment to the occupant to improve working productivity, reduce waste which means less pollution and less environmental degradation. This building must have systems to reduce/eliminate adverse impact on environment and human’s health. A building can be considered smart if it incorporates above sustainable elements with energy efficiencies throughout their life cycles.

Expanding above basic definition, smart buildings must also have systems which provide timely, integrated information of about building occupancy, use, operations and maintenance to its owners and other stake holders so that they may make timely, relevant and intelligent decisions to perform in a better way. These systems must effectively evolve continuously with changing user requirements, ensuring continued and improved operations throughout their life cycle during which these system must continually optimize the O&M of building for betterment. These systems must meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future, which are measured in three interdependent dimensions: environmental/ energy initiatives, economic prosperity and social responsibility.

Thus a smart buildings has a fully networked systems of all smart sub systems, which work independently as well collectively by interacting intelligently, thus optimizing a building’s performance. A system, which collects operational and functional data on a continuous basis, and constantly changing lined parameters to create an environment that is conducive to the occupants’ goals and making the place conductive for occupier to work. Such automated fully integrated systems tend to perform better, reduce dependency on human judgment, cost less to maintain and leave a smaller environmental imprint than individual sub-systems. It is worth mentioning that since each building is unique in its mission and operational objectives and therefore, these intelligent system must balance short-and long-term needs accordingly. Smart buildings provide a dynamic environment that responds to occupants’ changing needs and lifestyles. As technology advances, and as information and communication expectations become more sophisticated, networking solutions both converge and automate divergent technologies to improve responsiveness, efficiency, and performance. To achieve this, smart buildings converge data, voice and many other complex and varied information, fetched from buildings operations to control various facilities and facilitates a constantly evolving improve user satisfaction, better space utilization, excellent energy conservation, comfort and resource conservation.

Fundamentals Of Smart Building

Broad outlines of the intelligent and green buildings that converge to form the basis of a smart building are given below:

Green Buildings And Their Indian Context

In India, the Green Building Code is a mix of many of codes and standards contained in the by-laws of the National Building Code, the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and in the norms set by the ratings programs, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-India (LEED-India), the standards and guidelines put down for the Residential Sector by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), TERI-GRIHA and other such certifications as well as Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). Basic and general guidelines for efficient energy usage in the National Building Code (NBC) do exist but they are merely guidelines.

Intelligent Buildings And Their Indian Context

An intelligent building is broadly defined as a building that uses both technology and process to create a facility that is safe, healthy and comfortable and enables productivity and wellbeing for its occupants. An intelligent building provides timely, integrated system information for its owners so that they may make intelligent decisions regarding its operation and maintenance. An intelligent building has an implicit logic that effectively evolves with changing user requirements and technology, ensuring continued and improved intelligent operation, maintenance and optimization. It exhibits key attributes of environmental sustainability to benefit present and future generations. (CABA Steering Committee).

The idea of leveraging intelligence to enhance building performance, either for energy efficiency, resource conservation, environmental impact or occupant comfort and thereby obtaining credits is also acknowledged by USGBC. “If the objective is clear, the credit system under LEED is geared to recognize building performance that has been enhanced by automation and IT-centric intelligence,” states USGBC. An intelligent building can also be defined as “the building that combines the best available concepts, designs, materials, systems and technologies in order to provide an interactive, adaptive, responsive, integrated and dynamic intelligent environment for achieving the occupants’ objectives over the full life span of the building.”

An Intelligent Building provides a productive, cost effective environment through the optimization of structure, systems, services and management as well as the interrelationship between them. It integrates various systems (such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, voice and data communication and various other functions) to effectively manage resources in a coordinated way to maximize occupant performance at least operating cost and investment with savings and flexibility. They yield cost reductions in all these areas by optimizing operations by using intelligent and automated controls, smart communication between sub systems and managing them efficiently and effectively all through their life cycle. They also guard against R&M costs, employee engagement time, productivity loss, revenue involved and customers expectation and level of satisfaction. The intelligent systems installed in these buildings make them perform better, cost less to maintain by leaving a smaller carbon foot prints compared to conventional buildings and simultaneity providing a much improved conducive work environment to occupant.

Convergence Of Green Building And Intelligent Building – Smart Buildings

We spend up to 90 percent of our lives in buildings, and we believe that everything people do in life deserves a perfect place to do it. In a world where our fundamental health, safety and wellbeing expectations have been deeply impacted with the anxiety of a new virus, buildings should offer a haven. Ideally, a perfect place to learn. A perfect place to grow. A perfect place to prosper. While it’s true that today’s buildings should be efficient, reliable and safe, yet adaptability is crucial. Smart building interact with the people, systems and external elements around them and where various control systems are utilized to capture information and communicate directly to the each other as well as with building’s IoT devices and facility management software, to make buildings perform better and eliminating need of human intervention and judgment. In smart building, actual performance of building is measured accurately and in real time for continual performance improvement. The building information system learns from past experiences and real-time inputs and adapts to the needs of the people and the businesses within them by improving comfort, efficiency, resiliency and safety. Today there is a new need: to protect people from COVID-19.

When we use technology to support the people in buildings, we create environments that care.

Thus we can safely summarize that a smart building must have following quantifiable and measurable parameters:

Data Capturing, Storage, Retrieval And Analysis

The building must have system to handle vast range and data related to building operations and occupancy including their variation over the 24 hours operations.

Minimal Human Control

The building controls must be designed so that it manages itself with least human intervention, to a very high degree of independence irrespective of level of complexity both in operations as well as controls since it is practically becoming impossible for a human operator to manage the building’s various systems manually.


The building system must optimize the various operations like lightings, HVAC, Water and Waste management, Lift and Escalator operations and must generate timely alarms for any sort of abnormalities so that humans can take necessary corrective actions before any major damage happens.

Performance Quality

The building system must improve upon building performances on all fronts, be it Energy management, managing footfalls, space utilization, resource allocation, working efficiency, maintenance, waste management, recycling, environmental impact and employee well-being etc.

Also we can see here that for a building to be smart, it must be green building and should have various intelligent control system installed at strategic locations to monitor its operational performance on real time basis and provide timely feedback to concerned team for making intelligent decisions in order to manage resources.

However challenges as applicable to new construction and old buildings differ are summarized below:

There are two more common challenges as summarized below:

Occupant Productivity And Comfort

Occupant productivity has a significant measurable impact on the ROI calculation. Given that energy costs represent about 1% of the overall cost of doing business and investment expenses are about 10%, staffing costs can represent up to 85% of the total cost of doing business. Any improvement in productivity can therefore have a significant positive financial return.

Life Cycle Benefits

Depending on how the life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is addressed, this could potentially enable facilities and organizations to attain their long-term sustainability goals by developing their environmental monitoring systems to generate pertinent data. Therefore, keeping in mind that intelligent technologies are installed to deliver effective payback and long-term returns, it is critical for such systems to incorporate LCCA.

Building owners typically perceive that smart buildings will cost more. In reality however, and the fact is just opposite as considering the complete life cycle of a building the smart buildings ultimately cost less – the capital expenditure or first cost of doing a more integrated concept typically costs the owner more, however the lesser operating costs and enhanced productivity compensates the same over the complete life cycle cost of building resulting in a significant saving. Typically, operations-related impacts account for over 80% of life cycle impacts in buildings. Owners’operating costs are significantly lowered as a result of more efficient operations and better control, enhancing a building’s asset value. By enhancing connectivity between building systems and users, smart buildings help to balance the operational objectives and economic performance of buildings with emphasis on scalability and changing priorities. In an endeavor to provide a comfortable and reliable environment, smart buildings essentially help achieve a reduction in energy consumption, use resources more efficiently, and explore renewable alternatives that enable them to be financially, as well as environmentally sustainable assets over time. Reducing operating costs enhances a building’s asset value.

Smart Technologies For Smart Buildings

The range of Smart technologies and their controls which make a building intelligent are extremely wide and limited only to the imagination and budgets of the architects/engineers designing the building however, below given is the list of some of the basic smart technologies/sensors which are majorly used to make building intelligent and in turn when clubbed with green technologies make them smarter.

The list can never be comprehensive as the technology is progressing at much faster rate now than a decade back.

The current building automation technologies can address the following three major needs of building owners and tenant:

  • Facilitate people using the building to become active agents in the utilization, creation, and evolution of spaces that support their activities;
  • Preserve and improve the investment and ROI for the building owners and managers; and
  • Reduce the impact on the environment by the building, from its initial construction stage through its life Labor costs can be reduced by 40-60% over the life of the building as it requires less labor during the initial installation and requires less labor to maintain the building. The ability to save money also extends to energy savings, as it can reduce the energy costs in a building by making it more energy efficient whereby recouping 20-60% energy savings that would otherwise have been lost by traditional electrical infrastructure.

Network Convergence

Fully networked systems collects operational information of building to optimize the building’s performance and constantly create an environment that is most conducive to the occupant’s goals. This convergence reflects an evolution of the building systems to an IP network to internet connectivity. Optimizing energy usage and costs is the financial advantages for building owners to integrate their systems. The information is further addressed in some of the cases where the goal is to manage a portfolio enterprise and lower the cost of ownership by attacking energy, cost of deferred maintenance, operating cost, space utilization, and asset management. Once the utility bill is integrated with the building controls system, supportive diagnostic information can be presented and made easily accessible to staff. This allows them to instantaneously look at the information and adjust any issues themselves instead of waiting until end of the month thus saving time, energy, efforts and money by attacking the root cause of problem as and when it arises.

Conventional buildings suffer from the inability to communicate lease aside intelligently, the large amount of data that is generated in its operation during the building’s life cycle. A converged network solution allows a higher level of connectivity for a variety of products from multiple manufacturers. This results in benefits such as cost effectiveness, process improvements in facility automation, monitoring and management, and more efficient real estate portfolio management. Streaming building control and utility data into a shared network enables optimum management of facilities by connecting various silo systems and applications.

Integrated Building Control Systems

Programmed, computerized networks with internet connectivity of electronic devices are employed for control and monitoring of systems such as HVAC, lighting, security, fire and life safety, and elevators. Known as building automation systems (BAS) and building energy management system (BEMS), these solutions typically aim at optimizing the operational performance, start-up, and maintenance of building systems and greatly increase the interaction of mechanical subsystems in the building. 


This leads to improved occupant comfort due to optimization HVAC, Illumination, energy consumption, and cost-effective building operation like Security of building occupants and assets, In-building use needs: room reservations (office buildings), way finding (hospitals, hotels), asset visibility (hospitals) with Human-centric design: allowing humans control over their own micro climates. All these can be controlled and monitored remotely or from a centralized system with a minimum human-in-loop factor.

Building automation systems (BAS) and building energy management system (BEMS) vary in capability and functionality, but are all designed to provide centralized oversight and remote control over lighting, HVAC, security, fire and life safety, elevators, water management, and AV technologies.


Structured Cabling Infrastructure

Based on the Telecommunications and Electronic Industry Association 568 Standard, a structured cabling solution (SCS) can significantly increase the lifespan of cabling infrastructure in a building, obviating extensive changes or expensive upgrades. A SCS integrates voice, data, video and other buildings cabling systems. A SCS is an open system architecture that is standard based and can reduce construction costs for the cabling infrastructure by as much as 30% and 25%-60% for cabling related changes. Other direct/ monetary benefits that can be realized are minimized upfront costs due to labor and material savings, increased lifespan and durability, and minimal maintenance costs. The ability to run data signals and power to the devices over the same cabling infrastructure can be a dramatic cost saver in high labor rate construction projects. Several additional advantages are the relative ease of expandability and adaptability for rapid and easy changes involving minimal disruption, the logical outcome is faster ROI, better utilization of installed cabling, and a lower total cost of ownership.

End-users are demanding suitably designed cabling infrastructure, balanced with desired power and cooling thresholds which are reliable, interoperable, and scalable over time. These challenges arise as buildings integrate more sophisticated voice, data, and video equipment into applications. By consolidating/integrating cabling from multiple stand-alone systems, material and labor inputs can be reduced, thus providing savings in initial construction costs.

Communication Infrastructure

Smart buildings are typified by their innovative qualities, facilitated by the integrated design process. Building owners, developers, and managers are increasingly committed to providing better services to the tenants and occupants by way of increased voice, video, and data integration and communication, and these expanding capabilities not only offer better management of buildings and associated operational costs, but also enhance the well-being of the occupants. A converged voice, video, and data network streamlines the asset allocation, tracking, and management process, which improves security and optimizes flexibility, and improves interaction and integration between the various individual IP-based systems. Communication services help anticipate increasing demand for complex and integrated networks. Communication allows all types of users to not only improve efficiency and reduce operating expenditures, but also create opportunities for unique interaction between buildings and their users. Given the increasingly competitive business environment for real estate, the presence of valueadding network and communications technology may serve as a compelling differentiator in a market increasingly saturated with look-alike properties.

Water Conservation Technologies

Water is a scarce resource and its scarcity has always been an ever- present challenge, and thus this area in building operations offers tremendous potential scope for water conservation technologies and products. One such option that has been displaying growing potential is the application of integrated monitoring and control of water use. By networkingvarioussensors andflowmetersfromwaterincomingsupply, its consumption/utilization points and then at final discharge point in conjunction with treatment and recycling of water, facilities managers can monitor the entire water utilization cycle in building.

Total realistic life cycle cost of the water system management is, for the first time, within the grasp of owners and developers however this new level of integration will help companies establish a single source of information of water utilization while increasing both the overall sustainability and conservation of a precarious natural resource.

Fiber To The Telecom Enclosure (FTTE) Or Zone Cabling

With commercial industry relying heavily on solutions provided by information technology, the network infrastructure is more critical than ever. The cost to business for installation and maintenance is a large investment. Users seeking data communications architectures that support a wide range of network applications can use a Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA) standards based solution: Fiber-to-the-Telecom-Enclosure (FTTE) or Zone cabling. The FTTE architecture extends the fiber optic backbone to telecom enclosure closer to workstations throughout a building. The telecom enclosure can then distribute a flexible topology of mixed media and power to the devices using copper category cable, fiber optics, coaxial cable, and A/V cable. As a result, buildings can benefit from more useable real estate due to the removal or consolidation of the telecommunications room on each floor. Also, there is a 20-30% cost reduction on cabling due to consolidation and removal of proprietary networks, improved network performance, single contractor/integrator vs. several specialists for disparate systems, and a substantial reduction in cost and disruption to staff when making changes within work areas.

Electrical Architecture

To meet the needs of flexible and integrated infrastructures, electrical infrastructures has to be smart, flexible, adaptable, and are able to serve as the integrated center for lighting, energy, HVAC and control systems. The new programmable environment combines a new electrical infrastructure that replaces the traditional pipe and wire electrical systems with embedded lighting controls that are connected together through nodes on a network.

Integrated AV Systems: (SSH) Over the past several decades, audiovisual (AV) technology has evolved from simple, piecemeal loudspeakers and projectors used as presentation tools into integrated and networkable systems capable of linking organizations and their facilities in new and dynamic ways. The convergence of AV and IT technologies has raised the bar for usability and systems integration, especially in intelligent and green buildings where user comfort, energy efficiency, and asset management are key features.

A modern intelligent conference room may include a networked projector and/or LCD displays, intelligent lighting and window shade systems, a digital audio system, and a high-definition videoconferencing system. This in few cases may be like a virtual meeting room with3D projections of images. Based on requested capabilities in the meeting invite, the AV control system would take over the task of turning on the AV components, setting them to the proper operational mode, and adjusting the room temperature to a comfortable level prior to the meeting start time. Ambient light sensors installed in the room would measure the amount of incoming natural light (which is becoming more prevalent in green building), adjust window shades as appropriate for the function, and supplement the natural light with the interior lighting system to achieve the proper environment for a presentation or videoconference. The videoconference bridge can be made to dial at preset time of meeting so all attendees have to do is enter the room.

Benefits Of Intelligent Buildings

Smart buildings have been getting increasing attention all across the Globe due to their potential to reduce building energy costs, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, reduce water consumption, and add value to the buildings given the savings and the positive effects on occupant safety, comfort and satisfaction. Actions taken to reduce building energy consumption and minimize fossil fuel pollution will have lasting environmental effects given that most power-plant- generated energy is produces by fossil fuels. Processes, building and system design and high-performance technologies are being sought to reduce energy consumption and mitigate the production of greenhouse gas emissions. This can be summarized as below:

Drivers For Smart Building

Green Building Movement

Motivated by a desire to appear environmentally conscious, many commercial facilities have adopted “Green technologies” in order to earn “Green and Sustainable” certifications. The Green Buildings Ratings and Certification process has gained tremendous momentum over the last few years. Below is a data given (Ref CII Data), many of these building may just be Green Buildings yet that is a step nearer of making them a Smart Building.

Post COVID-19, growth in green building market in India is expected to bring about enormous economic growth by creation of a new industrial sector. The notion of green building still being new in India, there are very few number of existing professionals in the sector. But as the market grows, there will be demand for architects, technicians, energy experts, environmentalists, consultants etc. having adequate knowledge of the sector. Some of the green building rating agency providers like IGBC or GRIHA have already started building professionals dedicated for green buildings. In next one decade or even less, the trend will enhance remarkably. As the worth of green buildings is being perceived by more sections of the society with the passage of time, the ultimate objective of sustainability i.e. economic development maintaining the environment looks easy to achieve.

Energy Performance Improvement Movement

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has took up various policy and regulatory initiatives to enhance energy efficiency of building sector namely ECBC (Energy Conservation Building Code, a code developed for new commercial buildings on 27 Ma7 2007 and sets minimum energy standards for commercial buildings having a connected load of 100kW or contract demand of 120 KVA and above). BEE had proposed ambitious targets for the 12th plan period i.e. 75% of all new starts of commercial buildings are to be ECBC compliant by the end of the 12th plan period and 20% of the existing commercial buildings reduce their energy consumption through retrofits.

To create a market pull for energy efficient buildings, BEE developed a voluntary Star Rating Programme for commercial buildings which is based on the actual performance of a building, in terms of energy usage in the building over its area expressed in kWh/sq. m/year. This Programme rates buildings on a 1-5 star scale, with 5-Star labeled buildings being the most energy efficient. So far, about 225 buildings have been rated under various categories.

This has been further categorized in following four sub-categories based on their usage:

  1. Star Rating Scheme for Office Buildings (166 )
  2. Star Rating Scheme for BPOs (45 )
  3. Star Rating Scheme for Hospitals (12 )
  4. Star Rating Scheme for Malls (2 )

The distribution of above BEE certified buildings is given below in following categories:

  1. Buildings As Per Star Ratings
  2. Buildings As Per Their Use/Application
  3. Buildings As Per EPI Range

Distribution Of Total 225 commercial buildings have been star rated under different categories of buildings as on date. (Ref BEE Website)

EPI is the energy used per unit area measured as kWh/m2/year or kWh/person/year. Energy conscious buildings in India have achieved EPIs of 100-150kWh/m2/year. The national benchmark is 180kWh/m2/year. Buildings with EPI of 180kWh/ m2/year are ECBC compliant.

Complementing the efforts of the Government of India, the ECBC has been integrated in other rating and compliance systems being followed in the country such as EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for large area development under MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forest), Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) rating system of ADARSH and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

The key drivers fueling this trend are energy efficiency prerogatives and enhancement of buildings’ operational performance on the part of building owners and managers. Other factors contributing to this trend include a desire to substitute environmentally friendly alternatives, renewable resources, and integration and intelligence benefits through incorporating intelligent building solutions. While there are a few challenges concerning high capital costs, low awareness, and receding economic conditions with a sluggish construction market, green certifications are projected to grow steadily over the next five to seven year period.

By enhancing connectivity between building systems and users, intelligent products and technologies help to balance operational objectives and the economic performance of buildings with due emphasis on scalability and changing priorities. These products and technologies, and the buildings they retrofit and sustain over time, stand to benefit from green measurement tools in reaching out to the larger marketplace for confirmed acceptance and propagation. Results achieved through the deployment of intelligent products and technologies in buildings make such intelligent solutions imperative to the success of a building’s environmental profile and increased adoption.

Intelligent buildings transcend integration to achieve interaction, in which the previously independent systems work collectively to optimize the building’s performance and constantly create an environment that is most conducive to the occupants’ goals. Additionally, fully interoperable systems in intelligent buildings tend to perform better, cost less to maintain and leave a smaller environmental imprint than individual utilities and communication systems.

Each building is unique in its mission and operational objectives and therefore, must balance short and long-term needs accordingly. Intelligent buildings serve as a dynamic environment that responds to occupants’ changing needs and lifestyles. As technology advances and as information and communication expectations become more sophisticated, networking solutions both converge and automate the technologies to improve responsiveness, efficiency and performance. To achieve this, intelligent buildings converge data, voice, and video with security, HVAC, lighting and other electronic controls on a single IP network platform that facilitates user management, space utilization, energy conservation, comfort and systems improvement.

Smart Buildings – Risks, Future And Rise Of Smart Cities


Risks: The smart buildings not only deliver advantages, but also have their associated risks which anyways comes with all new technologies, most critical of them is cyber-attacks. Since thousands of devices are connected to the Internet, there are many new“attack vectors,” as they are termed. These devices can be exploited by attackers to penetrate the building’s IT system, after which it’s simple to manipulate data and block functions of the building. Also with these smart technologies, the skill sets of operators would need an up gradation which would demand convergence of conventional engineering knowledge of process/ machine with that of various other new technologies.

Future: As the society progresses, the market for smart buildings is expected to grow at a rapid pace. According to the market research firm Gartner,

5.8 billion connected devices will soon be in use worldwide, an increase of 21 percent over 2019 (4.8 billion devices).

Experts expect the largest growth to be in the field of building automation. 230 million devices were connected worldwide in buildings in 2018 and that figure will be 483 million in 2022. Their common objective: To make working and living more convenient and counteract climate change by efficiently utilizing the resources.

Rise Of Smart Cities
With rise of Smart Buildings, the day is not far off when initially the community living and progressively cities will move toward same approach and it is expected that there will be a steady increase of smart city development around the world over the next seven to ten years, with a total value of the global smart city market projected to exceed $2.5 trillion by 2025. As our physical and digital worlds become intertwined, we have the opportunities to witness a future of continuous and lasting change, and digitalization is enabling smart cities become reality.



A building can be made smart by using intelligent technologies which will provide a tangible and significant return on investment. Post COVID-19, the construction industry is expected to bounce back and also expected to experience rapid growth, a growth which must be sustainable considering the referred pandemic, society has witnessed and only option is to go for smart building; however, the deployment and success of the solution will ultimately rest on the capability and experience of the project team as well as way the integration is done. The return on any of these additional investment will repay itself in much lesser time than planned since with time the as the prices of semiconductors keep following the Moore’s law, resulting in the lower cost chips. The lower cost of chips means, lower cost of various control system and technologies being put in as well as the lower cost of implementation of these intelligent system/technologies than traditional technologies. Also life-time operating costs will significantly lower and with more automation, labor costs are also likely to drop significantly, and more and more buildings will opt for converting to intelligent buildings. The time will come in near future when these smart building will certainly pave way for smart cities, a concept whose seed were sowed few years back by Honorable Indian Prime Minister of India.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This