The smart building industry has been busy over the last few years. Advances in technology that make it easier to manage energy have considerably broadened the energy conversation, engaging not just facility managers, but also CEOs and CFOs. Although the effects of the global economic recession are still felt throughout the building and construction industries, technology vendors and integrators have continued to uncover new opportunities to improve energy efficiency in the existing building stock. The potential for energy efficiency has hardly been tapped even today.
Smart buildings employ a wide range of technologies that improve efficiency and connect buildings to each other as well as to the grid using intelligent, information and communication technology (ICT)-based devices and networks. Many of the technologies required for qualifying as a smart building, such as energy efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and submeters, are mature. Others, such as building energy management systems (BEMSs) and building information modeling (BIM), are evolving rapidly and offer some of the most impactful innovations that the building industry has witnessed in years. The challenge that integrators face today, however, is tying these systems together in a way that maximizes profitability and leverages the strengths that each service provider in the smart building ecosystem brings to the table.
The one certainty is that demand for smart building technologies will continue to grow. The value proposition for many of these technologies has been demonstrated and a growing number of building owners are starting to adopt them with positive results. As the technology continues to evolve, improve, and decrease in cost, efficient and intelligent technologies will start to become an even more pervasive fixture in buildings worldwide.
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