Intelligent building development is becoming an important topic for the commercial real estate market. By leveraging smart technologies, landlords can transform a standard building into one that is intuitive, self-restoring, and sustainable. The development of intelligent buildings is about using information technology to shape both the way we work and the spaces in which we do it.
The best examples of intelligent buildings deliver resource efficiency, improved economics, the automation of essential responses, and a more efficient and effective working environment for the occupants.
Smart buildings make liberal use of technology - a mesh of sensors, connectivity and IoT devices - to create a potentially better workplace; one that is conducive to customisation, flexibility and sustainability.
Studies show that employees who have choice over when, where, and how to work have higher levels of satisfaction, innovation, and job performance. Generation Z and millennials have grown up as digital natives and as they enter the workplace they play an influential role in creating new work cultures.
With these two cohorts redefining the definition of the workplace, smart business leaders are determining which features are desired (maybe even expected) in a work environment to attract and retain the best employees.
So, if we step back and look at technology architecture on a wider scale, we see the future of the workplace in motion.
Here’s a quick snapshot of 4 examples of intelligent buildings that are embracing CRE tech, transforming office design and usage:
The Green: The Edge, Deloitte, Amsterdam
Let’s face it, this one was always going to make the list. Bloomberg called The Edge “The Smartest Building in the World”. Encapsulating the very essence of what smart building technology can mean to a modern, digitally-hungry workforce, The Edge behaves in accordance with its occupants' needs.
Employees don’t have assigned desks or parking spaces at The Edge. Instead, the building uses numberplate recognition to allocate them a parking space when they arrive. And, because it’s connected to their profile and calendar, it assigns them an appropriate workspace based on their schedule and tasks.
Flexibility runs through the veins of The Edge’s architecture; the building reacts to members as they move around it, adjusting the microclimate to their preferences.
And if that wasn't enough, users have use of a state-of-the-art gym which recycles their energy expenditure into the running of the building.
Aspiring intelligent properties can learn a lot from The Edge, but it’s not all style over substance. The Edge prides itself on receiving the highest ever BREEAM sustainability score of 98.4%.
The People Pleaser: Capital Tower, Singapore
Capital Tower was one of the first smart buildings built. It has a fully integrated intelligent building management system (IBMS) that aims to please its occupants at every juncture. Intelligent features include high-speed lifts with live news and stock market updates and a state-of-the-art car park guidance system.
From low emissivity glass windows, to variable air volume boxes for optimal indoor air quality, Capital Tower's designers wanted to enhance occupant experience whilst maintaining an efficient, sustainable and eco-friendly property.
With co-working memberships available, the building is designed to facilitate connections and collaboration among the occupants.
But one of the greatest things about CT? It promotes a harmony between work and lifestyle facilities, made possible with the inclusion of a hairdressers, a spa, gym and a medical centre.
The Comfortable: Glumac, Los Angeles, CA
Occupying the 23rd floor of the Aon Center, Glumac's Los Angeles office puts occupant comfort and productivity at the centre of its green initiatives. It is the first Net Zero Tenant Improvement Living Building Challenge registered project in the United States.
The building has a heat recovery retrofit, which recycles and redistributes the existing environment, as well as chilled sails for efficient climate control. Glumac's office makes use of natural daylight with large windows and an open-plan design, fostering a collaborative and connected workspace.
With each occupant able to control their micro environment through a smart app, it places an emphasis on improving occupant comfort, reducing energy consumption, and increasing productivity.
The Clean: Glumac, Shanghai, China
Pioneers of the Living Building Challenge certification in Asia, and one of the most sustainable office spaces in China, Glumac, Shanghai is the epitome of a greener future for the continent.
The building lets employees monitor the toxicity of indoor and outdoor air via a mobile app. And with air purification systems and greenery laced into the wall space, it's a far cry from the often highly-polluted environment outside of the building.
So do these examples of intelligent buildings give a glimpse of the future workplace? One where the IoT, IBMS and the cloud make constant and responsive connectivity a reality?
Intelligent buildings are laying the foundation for a future of smart cities, where centralised data systems provide continuous analytical insights that enable us to improve and control occupant comfort, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Architectural innovation across the globe means that future tenants will likely seek out spaces where where smart technology and building management systems are available, perhaps even outpacing location on their priority list. This could impact real estate prices and portfolios.
As technology continues to pervade our buildings and workspaces, it is transforming the business environment and its mindsets. The vision is ultimately to build less and to maximise the space that exists, ensuring the buildings we have are used in a better, more efficient way.
Written by Chris Coupe
Chris is a director at RunTech. Having spent six years in business development and management, he plays an invaluable role in seeking out new opportunities and driving the company forward.