Trends Shaping the Future of Connected Smart Buildings: Sustainability

Part 3: Insights from industry expert Casey Talon

In the final part of our three-part blog series with building innovation Research Director, Casey Talon of Navigant, we explore the challenges of implementing today’s technology in yesterday’s buildings and look to the future of sustainable smart buildings.

There is a rapid uptake of wireless, what impact does this have on the energy efficiency of a building?

Wireless has a lot of appeal to building owners because of the low cost, low to no disruption installation. The sheer volume of wireless devices projected to be deployed in commercial buildings with IoT begs the question of how to manage the energy requirements in light of energy efficiency expectations for sustainability.

Why is it vital to have an infrastructure that seamlessly delivers data and power, in a size that makes the most of the available space?

The vast majority of commercial buildings we will use in the next couple decades are already built; in many cases, these buildings are old and operating without cohesive smart building solutions. So, while PoE has a value proposition in new construction, it can be a critical component of infrastructure design in retrofits. PoE also offers higher data transfer rates than wireless and data reliability without the concern of interference that can come with using Bluetooth or cellular. Data velocity and reliability are important considerations in the smart building context and especially for solutions deployed in facilities that support critical operations such as healthcare or financial services. Operational savings are another benefit of PoE that can help drive investment in retrofit scenarios, particularly in budget-constrained markets like healthcare and education.

What trends are you seeing in energy efficient technologies being created and adopted by commercial and residential buildings?

Navigant Research has been exploring the future of smart buildings in the broader ecosystem of digital transformation and our view of the emerging Energy Cloud. Optimizing systems within the building to perform in coordination with other onsite resources such as solar, EV charging systems, or energy storage is the next frontier for the smart building.

This next stage is positioned to shift the building from an energy end use to an energy asset, from a cost center to a low carbon profit generator.

PoE lighting controls, as an example, allow for load shedding that can be used for a demand response program. Utilities can engage building owners to shed their energy use during peak periods that risk grid outages in exchange for financial incentives.

Additionally, DC power systems are gaining popularity as distributed energy resources (DER) become more widespread.

Benefits of sustainable smart buildings

In addition to collecting actionable data, creating a better customer experience, and a more productive workspace, sustainability will continue to drive business gains in a connected enterprise. In a recent article, Navigant explores how companies can use sustainability to strengthen financial resilience: How Climate Risk Mitigation is Changing Corporations.

Panduit would like to thank Casey for taking the time to chat with us and helping to inform our readers about the trends shaping the future of connected infrastructure – few things move at the speed of innovation, and we hope Casey’s insights help prepare you for future technology trends that will shape the layout of smart buildings.

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