How To Design A Smart Building

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    With energy prices rising and climate change becoming a more prominent issue, businesses are thinking of innovative ways to adapt their office spaces to save energy and money. With technology evolving at an exponential pace, business owners and employees expect more from their working spaces, with smart buildings, or intelligent buildings as they’re also known, becoming more popular.

    But what exactly is a smart building and how do you design one? In our guide, we’ll cover the benefits of creating an intelligent office and what smart building technology can be implemented to reduce energy consumption.

     

    How to design a smart building?

    If you want to make your office smarter, there are a few things to consider. Improving the technology inside your building can help to reduce your business energy bills and encourage better workflows. Below are some characteristics to consider if you want to know how to design a smart building.

    Sustainability
    Arguably, the most important characteristic of designing a smart building is the sustainability element. Climate change is an issue that unfortunately won’t go away and, with businesses adopting the net zero carbon emissions policy set out by the UK Government, owners are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. With advanced technologies, smart buildings can exist off the grid and develop self-sustaining ecosystems, such as treating water on site. While this is brilliant for new buildings set to be built, this may not be available to existing structures. To improve your business’ green credentials, you could switch providers and use green energy sources instead.

    smart building technology
    Happy workers

    People
    Intelligent buildings are designed for the people who will use them daily. Therefore, it’s important to consider their needs and requirements. However, these continuously change as technology and lifestyles develop, so it’s important to keep the systems updated. Some important things to consider are:
    • How will people use this building?
    • How can things be changed to make them more productive, comfortable and happier?
    • How can the building address flexible and digital working?

    Flexibility
    Smart buildings shouldn’t be built as structures that serve one generation of workers but then quickly become outdated. Technology is continuously updating and strategies to reduce carbon emissions for both individual emissions and businesses are always being introduced, therefore smart buildings need to be adaptable and responsive to change. With the introduction of flexible and hybrid working, businesses no longer require rigorous office computer set-ups, instead collaboration and creative design stations have become popular. Smart building systems need to be flexible to adapt to the needs of the employees and teams at the time.

    Examples of smart building technology

    If you’re looking to update your office to become an intelligent building, we’ve illustrated some smart building technology that’s used in famous structures around the world for some inspiration. Their technology helps to reduce their business gas and electricity bills and carbon emissions, and make their employees’ working environment more productive and happier.
    Efficient water systems: the Crystal Building in London recycles 100% of its water in its toilets and collects rainwater to maintain the bathrooms and irrigation system.
    Air monitoring system: this allows employees to see the toxicity of the air in their working space or office. The Glumac in Shanghai utilises this technology to monitor air particles, including oxygen, humidity and volatile organic compound, to improve working conditions for its employees.
    Solar panels: in Australia, buildings can be exposed to extreme conditions. The Hindmarsh Shire Council Corporate Centre uses this to its advantage and uses rooftop solar panels to harvest energy from the sun.
    Rooftop gardens: not only are these extremely pretty, they also reduce water run-off and improve green credentials. The Duke Energy Centre in North Carolina uses its rooftop garden to reduce storm damage and capture excess heat.
    Air conditioning energy recovery wheel: this system allows cool air to be retrieved, rather than being wasted. The Capital Tower in Singapore uses this system to maintain their chiller’s efficiency.

    These smart buildings technologies can be expensive and may take a long time to implement; if you’re looking for a short-term solution, then switching your utility provider can save you money. Struggling for time? Using a utility broker, like us, can take away the stress of searching for providers, so you can get on with the important tasks.

    The benefits of smart buildings

    There are so many benefits to using an intelligent building. We’ve highlighted our top five benefits of using smart building systems:
    Improves employee comfort and wellbeing: happy workers mean they’re more likely to focus, as well as boosting creativity and collaboration. Since smart building systems are able to control factors, such as heating and ventilation, they give employees greater control over their working environment, allowing them to relax and feel comfortable to work. Research from the University of Oxford has shown that content employees result in a 13% more productive workforce.
    Provides valuable insights on the building: smart buildings have sensors that constantly monitor several factors, including occupancy and energy usage. These are useful insights on the building, workplace behaviour and resources which can be used to make informed decisions on how to improve the overall business and workplace.
    Improves security: with smart building technology, security features can be enhanced, such as door locks, cameras, and alarms. These are integrated with all the other systems and can be automated in the event of an incident.
    Enhances automation: since all the systems are integrated and fully interconnected, it allows for automation, which can reduce boring manual tasks. Nobody wants to get up from their desk to switch the heating up. Additionally, automated processes can increase security. For example, if there was a break-in, the lights would turn on automatically, the control panel could become inaccessible, and the emergency services can be alerted.
    Reduces overall costs: a more energy efficient smart building will reduce overall costs, which will allow for money to be spent in other areas of the business to improve profitability and productivity.

    Smart buildings are the future for all businesses. They’re designed to be sustainable and future proof for the next generations of businesses. The smart building technology can be a long-term aim to work towards for your business; but, in the meantime, why not switch energy providers to save money on your business utilities? With Utility Bidder, we can save you up to 45% on your business energy. It’s simple – just contact us and talk to one of our friendly experts to see how much you can save.

    Frequently asked questions

    The energy regulator, Ofgem, will implement a SoLR or “supplier of last resort” if your supplier ceased business.

    No, if your supplier ceased business, your supply will not be cut off. This is because you will be given a SoLR or “supplier of last resort” to ensure you have a continuous supply of gas and electricity. Other suppliers will bid to replace the contracts of businesses that have ceased trading and Ofgem will try to get the best possible deal for the customer in these circumstances.

    Ofgem will be working on finding your new supplier as quickly as possible. This will be announced on their website within a few days.

    Your business contract will now be void and you will immediately be put on an “out of contract” rate which may result in your bills increasing. This will only be the case until a new tariff is agreed.

    In regards to domestic customers, the protection of funds paid by non-domestic customers into their accounts “cannot be guaranteed”. Find out more information here.

    Depending on your new supplier, you will still need to pay the debt to your new supplier if they have agreed to take on customer debts owed to your old supplier. If this is not the case, you will need to set up a payment plan with your old supplier’s administrators that will get in touch with you.

    Businesses that use a smart meter will be appointed a SoLR and will still have access to a continuous supply. Similarly, to traditional meters, Ofgem will quickly find a suitable supplier for the circumstances. If a supplier is appointed but they can’t operate your smart meter in smart mode, it will work as a traditional meter for that time.

    Ofgem advises that you should not cancel your direct debit as your new supplier will get in touch to provide further information on direct debit arrangements.

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