“Smart” buildings have become the buildings of the future. They are preferred because they have proven to save energy and cut back the need to replace and streamline facility management. Despite their growing popularity, the smart building technology remains a mystery to many building owners and tenants. As with any mystery – myths arise.
The top 8 myths surrounding Smart Buildings:
- Smart Building Technology is Too Expensive
This seems to be the most common misconception we hear so let’s set it straight! Yes, smart building technology has some initial expenses, as does any improvement. However, these special systems offer huge financial savings down the road. In as little as a few months, you will begin to see the benefits of your investment and often within a few years after completion of the project, the investment will have paid for itself. From there, the benefits and savings will continue for years to come.
- Smart buildings are only about saving energy
Energy savings is a big part of smart building technology, but there’s countless other benefits! The right management system can detect when equipment is ready to fail and alert key personnel. The automated process of knowing when to repair or replace equipment not only extends equipment life, but also reduces service manhours and costs. Even more important, smart building management systems can prevent complete building system failures, which could potentially close schools or prove life-threatening in a medical facility. These smart buildings also have enhanced security, modern management, improved occupancy comfort, and sometimes are even interactive.
- Smart buildings can only be new buildings
Some of the smartest buildings in the world are not new at all, but have demonstrated the return on investment in smart technologies. The Empire State Building, for example, has exceeded projected energy savings for the second consecutive year following an extensive phased retrofit begun in 2009.
- Smart buildings and green buildings are the same thing
Smart buildings maximize energy efficiency from building systems and ensure air quality, while a complete green sustainability program includes strategies beyond building automation systems. Some smart and green features may overlap; however, they are not identical concepts.
- Smart building technologies are not practical
In the past, building automation equipment and controls were designed as proprietary systems. However, affordable new technologies, such as wireless sensors, now make it possible to gather data from different systems produced by any manufacturer.
- Tenants are turned off by smart technologies
Anything that has the capacity to improve energy efficiency, reduce occupancy cost and improve productivity and comfort is valuable to tenants. Many tenants today have come to expect smart technologies and factor this in when making choices about employment, care, or education. Think about what kind of building you would rather occupy.
- Without a municipal smart grid, a building can't really be smart
It's true that smart buildings gain functionality when supported by advanced electrical grids installed by municipalities and their utility company partners. But even without a smart grid, owners and investors can draw a wide range of benefits from smart buildings and a smart building management system that can monitor entire property portfolios.
- Smart buildings are complicated to operate
Combined with a smart building management system, a smart building is often easier to operate and maintain than a building that lacks automated systems. A smart building management system can integrate work-order applications; pull equipment repair and maintenance data into performance analytics; and pinpoint equipment issues to a degree that wasn’t possible a few years ago.