Across the world, urban environments face similar challenges of depleting resources, increasing costs and environmental concerns that affect the whole planet. One approach is to use smart technology to create buildings that are more sustainable, adaptable, responsive and futureproof.
Here’s a look at our picks for some of the world’s smartest buildings.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Befitting the world’s tallest building, the famous Burj Khalifa is also equipped with some of the smartest data analytics to be found. For instance, building technology specialist, Honeywell, launched their pilot Outcome Based Service (OBS) here to ensure the maintenance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is as efficient as it can be.
The OBS software aggregates and analyses real-time field data from the everyday usage of the HVAC system, using a cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which is then able to predict the best future dates for services and maintenance work. Not only does this minimise day-to-day inconveniences, it also helps eliminate disruptions caused by unexpected malfunctions, such as lifts being out of service.
Complementing the OBS is the Enterprise Building Integrator (EBI), a centralised platform which is able to take a snapshot of the general health of the building, and then make real-time recommendations for speedy solutions. For instance, if an alert comes in that a lift has stalled on the 72nd floor, the system informs the closest technical team (in this case, on the 63rd floor), while simultaneously directing those waiting for the lift towards an alternative route. Not only will repairs take place faster, but busy office workers will also be assisted in real time.
The Edge, Amsterdam
The Edge consistently makes the list for being one of the most advanced and intelligent buildings ever constructed, offering a seamless, hyper-connected experience for its occupants, right from the moment they arrive to work. A smart app developed by the building’s main tenant, Deloitte, recognises their car, then directs it to the most convenient parking spot. Next, the app will show them to the closest available workstation, since there are no designated desks in this hotbed of hot desking.
The same app collects data on employee working habits and ambience preferences. This allows for scheduled power shutdowns in areas of the building not in use, as well as automatic light and temperature settings tailored to users’ needs. Additionally, when an occupant has a meeting scheduled, the system provides instructions on how to get to the next venue to avoid delays from getting lost in a 40,000m² building. All this makes for a more comfortable and sustainable workplace.
The Edge has the highest ever Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) with a score of 98.36 percent, which makes it the greenest building in the world.
The Crystal, London
Famously, The Crystal, which was designed specifically to support a vision for sustainable cities, has an annual heating bill of zero. This multi award-winning building is able to generate its own heat from the use of solar panels and pumps sourcing heat from the ground below.
There is also a centralised Energy Management System which controls all electrical and mechanical systems in the building, by collecting over 3,500 data points, ranging from an outdoor weather station to each individual light source throughout the building. So, optimum heating settings can be set depending on how cold a winter’s day it is, and when the weather is mild, the system opens the windows to let in fresh air.
The upshot is not only are ventilation levels the healthiest possible, energy consumption is also well-below a regular office building.
K11 ATELIER King’s Road, Hong Kong
The K11 ATELIER King’s Road in downtown Hong Kong has been recognised for melding sustainable development with healthy, futuristic and tech-inclusive features in its design. The building has received a multitude of green certifications, including one for meeting UN sustainable development goals.
K11 ATELIER’s power supply is partially generated by wind turbines and hybrid solar panels on the rooftop. Within the office spaces, high performance low-e glass glazing helps keep temperatures steady without compromising on day light availability, which helps lower electricity used for lighting and temperature regulation. The indoor LED lighting system is also linked to day light sensors for further energy savings as well as wellness-promoting circadian lighting.
Health and wellness is a cornerstone of the building, with an air handling unit, supply diffusers, and filters to ensure the best air quality, in terms of pollutants level, temperature distribution, and air movement. There are also dedicated outdoor areas for gardening, with freshly grown vegetables and fruits served in the building's F&B outlets, as well as a rooftop Sky Garden fitted with microclimate modifiers that keep the area comfortable all year round.
Watson IoT HQ, Munich
The Watson building was constructed as a showcase for IoT technology innovations and has bagged numerous international awards for tech and design, such as the German Design Award 2020, Brand EX Award and the iF Design Award 2020.
Throughout the building, occupants can interact with immersive IoT experiences. For example, the floor tiles change colour in line with CO2 levels within the building, while a plinth, also made up of tiles, displays changing gradients of red to illustrate temperature levels. But these visual displays are not simply for edification; they help determine the quality of air and trigger any necessary changes to ensure optimum levels for the health of occupants.
Facial recognition technology is also used to optimise work spaces as individual go about their work day. This includes customising lighting, heating and air-conditioning levels.
The IoT technology within the building also serve as testbeds for the building’s tenants, many of which are directly invested in tech industries, such as BMW, BNP Paribas, Avnet and Tech Mahindra, so the many high-tech features of the building are constantly evolving and improving.
Slider 2 & Thumbnail: https://etech.iec.ch/issue/2018-02/smart-buildings-for-smart-living
Slider 3: https://www.thecrystal.org/