20 Features Every Smart Building Should Have

Published Categorized as Innovative Technology
Smart Building Features

By integrating modern technologies to automate processes, smart buildings have become safer, more comfortable, and more energy-efficient than traditional buildings. What are some of the features that distinguish smart buildings from their conventional counterparts?

Here are 20 features every smart building should have:

  1. Meet sustainable goals
  2. Smart network of sensors
  3. Reliable maintenance alert system
  4. Energy-efficient
  5. Eco friendly
  6. Comfort
  7. Smart home security system
  8. Waste management system
  9. Drainage system
  10. Foolproof electric supply
  11. Mesmerizing architecture
  12. Minimalistic service apps
  13. Spacious automated parking
  14. Cost-effective
  15. The robotic cleaning staff
  16. Self-reliant
  17. Predictability and announcement system
  18. Dashboards and software
  19. Decentralized controlling units
  20. Protected data privacy

Let’s take a deeper look at every feature to understand smart buildings in detail.

1. Meet Sustainability Goals

An intelligent building needs to meet the relevant sustainability goals to ensure that all features positively affect the environment.

The United Nations’ agenda is to create advanced, sustainable, and inclusive cities for all living beings and future generations. Under the 9th sustainability goal – Industry, innovation, and infrastructure – the concept of intelligent buildings/infrastructure is laid down.

Some of the sustainability goals intelligent buildings should meet include responsible consumption and production and the use of affordable and clean energy.

As such, all smart buildings should use minimal energy to be sustainable in the short and long term.

2. Smart Network of Sensors

Almost all smart buildings use a smart network of sensors to perform specific functions. Sensors can perform a variety of tasks, from opening doors to identifying guests, activating alarms, and even dispensing water.

A smart building with a solid network of sensors can provide visual, audio, and thermal data to the control units. That data will further be used to maintain or predict the physical environment of the building.

The administration can utilize the data collected from sensors for advanced services if the building has a centralized technical unit.

Moreover, specific tasks can be performed remotely from the control unit during emergencies. However, the administration must strive to ensure that the intelligent technology is put to good use such that it does not compromise residents’ privacy.

3. Reliable Maintenance Alert System

All buildings are good in the beginning. However, maintenance negligence increases the chances of system failure and the risk of premature damage. This explains why a well-built structure can easily turn into ruin if not well maintained.

Most intelligent buildings consist of reliable maintenance alert systems that use advanced technologies to help prolong their lifespans. Moreover, a maintenance alert system ensures that fixture repairs and necessary software updates are made whenever the need arises to enhance resident safety and comfort.

The maintenance system includes timely cleaning schedules, protection from seasonal activities, a fire alarm system, announcement facilities, and even a query and complaints department.

4. Energy Efficient

Nowadays, energy efficiency isn’t only a necessity but also a responsibility towards future generations. A building that extensively consumes energy isn’t sustainable and continues to strain the environment.

An intelligent building integrates energy-efficient systems that help conserve energy and reduce carbon footprint. Moreover, most smart buildings come with installed solar systems to enhance energy efficiency.

Energy Star roofings and electric appliances are widely used in most, if not all, smart buildings due to their energy-saving properties. For instance, Energy Star metal roofs, tile roofs, and asphalt shingles save energy by reflecting most of the sunlight and reducing the extra burden of air conditioners.

5. Eco Friendly

Non-green construction projects usually exploit natural resources and result in a wide range of pollution. Although it’s impossible to construct a building without causing some harm to the environment, smart builders try to keep the pollution at the lowest.

The natural resources used in the construction of smart buildings are based on the triple-R (RRR) formula:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

Moreover, smart builders avoid using materials that can impact the environment negatively. Single-use plastic, harmful construction material, and processes are avoided during and after the construction.

6. Comfort

Smart buildings strive to integrate a wide range of modern technology to make homes increasingly comfortable. This explains why most smart buildings use high-tech systems to enhance overall comfort levels for occupants.

All of the sensor-powered systems, security, and other features have their basis for making a comfortable home.

The distinguishing feature of smart buildings is although they’re designed to make comfortable living spaces, they don’t compromise on other aspects of environmental protection and sustainable development.

7. Smart Home Security System

Home security is a vital consideration that homeowners should make before renting or purchasing a home. As a result, most smart homes strive to integrate world-class security features.

Normal buildings were designed to provide safety from natural disasters, wild animal attacks, and also humans who can cause harm to others.

Smart buildings take it a notch higher by integrating sensors and advanced alarm systems that respond to the slightest of motions. Smart buildings also use smart cameras that help improve overall security.

8. Waste Management System

Most smart buildings have a functional waste management system to reduce environmental damage. A typical smart building will have the necessary features and systems in place to dispose of waste in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.

Due to good waste management, the intelligent building offers a clean and healthy environment for its residents. Without waste management, living space can not be smart, no matter how technologically advanced it is.

9. Drainage System

Faulty drainage systems can cause serious harm to a building in the long run. Water is one of the agents of weathering. And if the drainage system leaks, it will weaken the building structure over time, thereby increasing the chances of rapid deterioration.

Smart buildings use advanced software, tools, and techniques to monitor the drainage system to prevent leakage. Waterproof plasters and paints are also used in smart buildings to reduce the need for regular maintenance and guarantee structural integrity (by keeping moisture and water at bay).

Moreover, intelligent buildings are easy to repair if the structure develops any seams due to natural disasters or seismic activities. These buildings contain sensors that provide urgent notifications in the event of damage or system malfunction.

10. Foolproof Electric Supply

Like the drainage system and security, a foolproof electric supply is another common feature in most intelligent buildings. A faulty installation of electric wires and appliances is a recipe for disaster.

Intelligent buildings have excellent quality wires and appliances to prevent short circuits or faulty current supply to red zones. Moreover, if there’s any need for repairs, smart buildings keep the supply storage at hand for instant corrections.

Moreover, there’s always backup electric support to the building if there’s an issue with the main electric lines. The electricity grid is decentralized and can be controlled by various centers in the building.

11. Mesmerizing Architecture

Smart buildings don’t compromise on their facial value and are built to impress. These structures have mesmerizing designs and appearances that redefine modern architecture.

A beautiful space is a happy space. Smart buildings are monumental architectures that are captivating and make people happy about their living situations.

For example, The Edge, an intelligent building in Amsterdam, is one of the most exemplary architectures worldwide. This smart building is considered the most innovative office space ever created on earth.

12. Minimalistic Service Apps

The world is moving towards simplicity because it’s not only beautiful but also more manageable afterward. The minimalist approach is taking over to make the smart buildings more functional and clutter-free.

First-generation users become overwhelmed when so many new concepts and technologies are introduced. With this concern in mind, smart buildings provide minimalist service apps to keep all the facilities and functions handy to a newbie.

You can control everything through the apps connecting users and suppliers, from daily schedules to monthly reminders, from automated parking to water, electricity, and gas supply./p>

13. Spacious Automated Parking

Most smart buildings have automated parking facilities based on sensor-equipped gateways and lights. When you enter the garage, sensors scan the number plate and open the door for the parking area. If the sensors can not identify a car, the door will not open.

Sensor-equipped parking makes the space more secure and feasible. The smart buildings provide ample space for parking cars, bikes, and bicycles separately. Moreover, the electricity isn’t wasted as lights are sensor-equipped and turn on only after detecting motion.

14. Cost Effective

Building construction, from beautification (exterior and interior) to services, and even maintenance, can prove too costly. However, intelligent buildings are constructed cost-effectively to reduce overall maintenance costs and prevent premature wear and tear.

Cost-effectiveness doesn’t mean having the cheapest value possible. Instead, it means that the services provided are worth the money you pay. Intelligent buildings are cost-effective as they provide services equivalent to the value of money.

Money and energy-saving tools are used in the building to increase the cost-effectiveness of an intelligent building. For example, once installed, solar panels provide electricity free of cost and cut down the expenditure on electricity bills.

15. The Robotic Cleaning Staff

Maintaining a building’s hygiene can prove a hard task, especially when dealing with multiple-story structures. To make the cleaning process easier, some smart buildings integrate cobotics, a process of using collaborative robots to carry out strenuous or repetitive tasks.

Cobots work hand in hand with cleaning personnel and are often deployed to perform vacuuming and basic cleaning tasks. This allows the cleaning professionals to tackle other tasks, consequently enhancing the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

16. Self-Reliant

Intelligent buildings are self-reliant. We have discussed the energy star roofing and solar panels that make a smart building energy-efficient. However, intelligent buildings are self-reliant in other aspects too.

For example, an intelligent building may have a water conservation system that collects rainwater, treats it, and makes it usable for various daily tasks like cleaning and washing. Most smart buildings use rainwater and lessen the burden of groundwater supply.

Moreover, terrace gardening, campus farming, etc., can make a building self-reliant as it can supply self-grown organic vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc., for the residents.

17. Predictability and Announcement System

Intelligent buildings have a technology-based predictability system that can predict future threats to enhance resident preparedness and overall safety. The predictions can be about natural disasters, technical malfunction within the building premises, or fire spreads.

An announcement system saves lives and resources in case of a fire. Moreover, if the temperature goes above or below average, the sensor-based intelligent computers notify the relevant parties, ensuring the issue is urgently fixed.

18. Dashboards and Software

Intelligent buildings are so smartly equipped with modern technology that they may become intimidating to some, especially senior residents. One helpful feature of a smart building is that it provides a dashboard where all the processes and functions can be presented to the users.

Moreover, the software accessible through computers and mobiles has everything at the fingertips of the users/residents. Smart builders provide the high-tech experience in the building and bridge the technology and human mind.

19. Decentralized Controlling Units

The decentralized control system is a very significant feature of an intelligent building. Control units function as the service center for the whole building and regulate technical and mechanical processes within the building premises.

However, if the control unit is very centralized and malfunctions occur, the whole building will have to suffer. That is why intelligent buildings have decentralized control units. Different cells have different tasks to handle.

If any problem occurs in one cell, the whole system will not suffer because tasks are divided, and work is decentralized. Moreover, decentralized controls let the administration control technical processes remotely when needed.

20. Protected Data Privacy

When a living or workspace is equipped with advanced technology that collects too much data to automate tasks, an issue of data breaches can arise.

As intelligent buildings have sensors and cameras placed everywhere, some private user data can be recorded. Proper smart buildings use ethical data collection processes and strive to respect their residents’ privacy.

The administration also surveys and takes written consent from the users before collecting private data.


By Giovanni Valle

Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.

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