How tech helps 'smart buildings' get green & healthy certification
The concept of smart buildings is rapidly evolving, with a sharp focus on sustainability and health. Today, integrating technology in building infrastructure is not just about convenience or luxury; it’s about creating spaces that are both environmentally friendly and conducive to the well-being of their occupants.
Achieving green and healthy certification for buildings is becoming increasingly important, and technology plays a pivotal role in this journey. In this blog, we will explore how technology can help achieve these certifications, ensuring properties are not only smart but also green and healthy.
For landlords and owners/developers trying to improve occupancy in office buildings, a green or healthy certification can help sell the space. Why? Green offices contribute to a tenant's environmental goals, and healthy office environments attract the best talent.
For construction and maintenance companies, having experience, knowledge, or basic familiarity with green/healthy building certification can help you win new clients.
Understanding smart buildings
Before diving into the role of technology, it’s essential to understand what smart buildings are. They leverage technology to control and optimise various systems like heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, security, and more. The primary goal is to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the occupant experience.
The importance of green & healthy certification
Green and healthy certifications, such as WELL and BREEAM, set standards for environmentally responsible and health-promoting building practices. These certifications assess various factors, including energy efficiency, water usage, indoor air quality, and sustainable materials. Achieving these certifications demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and health and can result in cost savings and increased property value.
WELL and BREEAM are possibly the most well-known certifications in the UK, but many others exist. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an alternative to BREEAM, but it originates in the USA and is more internationally recognised. Others include NABERS energy rating and GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark).
How technology facilitates green and healthy buildings
Energy Management Systems
Advanced energy management systems (EMS) are crucial in smart buildings. These systems use sensors and automation to optimise energy usage, reducing waste and improving efficiency. For instance, lighting systems that adjust based on natural light availability or occupancy can significantly reduce energy consumption, contributing to green certification requirements.
Building Automation Systems (BAS)
Building Automation Systems integrate various building systems, allowing for centralised control and monitoring. By automating tasks like HVAC operations and lighting control based on occupancy or time of day, BAS ensures the building operates at peak efficiency, a critical factor in achieving green certifications.
Water conservation technologies
Smart buildings often incorporate technology that aids in water conservation. Technology plays a vital role in meeting the water efficiency criteria of green certifications, from smart irrigation systems to advanced plumbing fixtures that reduce water flow without compromising performance.
Indoor air quality monitoring
Healthy building certifications emphasise the importance of indoor air quality. Smart buildings use advanced air quality sensors and filtration systems to monitor and improve air quality, ensuring a healthier environment for occupants.
Sustainable material tracking
Technology aids in tracking the use of sustainable materials during construction and operation. This information is crucial for certifications that require proof of using environmentally friendly materials.
Data analytics and reporting
Smart buildings generate a vast amount of data. Advanced analytics platforms can process this data to provide insights into building performance, helping identify improvement areas. Moreover, accurate reporting of this data is essential for certification processes.
Occupant well-being features
Technologies that enhance occupant comfort and well-being, such as adaptive lighting that mimics natural light patterns or noise-cancelling systems, contribute to achieving healthy building certifications.
In the quest for green and healthy certification, technology is not just an enabler; it’s a catalyst. Buildings equipped with the latest technologies pave the way for a more sustainable and healthy future and set a benchmark in the building industry. As we continue to innovate, the synergy between technology and sustainable practices will undoubtedly grow more robust, making green and healthy buildings an aspiration and a reality.
Remember, creating smart buildings is more than just integrating technology; it’s about building spaces that enhance the quality of life while respecting our planet. Technology is the tool that makes this possible, and we can all be a part of the journey towards green and healthy smart buildings.
For more information on BREEAM and WELL certification, check these two articles: 'What is BREEAM in construction and how tech helps certification' and 'How technology helps achieve WELL building standard'.
Guide: Achieving green, healthy and cyber secure buildings
A guide on green & healthy buildings and achieving the right certification. We examine the pros and cons of the most popular rating schemes and the challenges in creating sustainable and healthy buildings for occupants.
Plus, we highlight the essential role of technology in achieving these endorsements and the often unnoticed cyber security threats. It's free to download: Achieving green, healthy and cyber secure buildings.