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Pick the low hanging fruits to make any existing building smarter:
• Occupancy sensors that determine whether a space is occupied to control the lighting can and should be used to control other systems as well, such as adjusting the HVAC set points when a space is unoccupied, turning off displays and speakers in unoccupied conference rooms, and sending alarms to the security intrusion detection system if unauthorized movement throughout the space is detected.
• Secure, web-based control of temperature and lighting controls with a common schedule.
• Smart, in-building transportation systems such as destination dispatch elevator controls and escalators that slow down or stop moving when unoccupied to save energy.
• Energy, water, and waste benchmarking with a formal measurement and verification plan.
• Energy efficient equipment selection and systems design. This encompasses thousands of items, but is important and relates to making sure the building is fit and functional. The easiest way to save energy and dollars is usually the equipment selection and the system design before trying to squeeze small incremental efficiencies via integration or control strategies. Examples include: LED light fixtures, daylight dimming, ECM fan-powered VAV boxes, VFDs for HVAC fans and pumps, and low-flow water fixtures.
• Security system integration allows the access control and video surveillance systems to help each other. For instance, cameras that are monitoring doors can be set to record upon door contact sensor opening. Likewise, a camera that has analytics and detects suspicious activity may inform the access control system to lock down an area.
• Digital signage can be used to show upcoming events, for branding, real-time and historical building performance, wayfinding, and dynamic video that captivates people passing by.
This quick read is from Kurt Karnatz, president, Robert Knight (firstname.lastname@example.org), senior associate, and Rick Szcodronski, a senior associate, technology consulting, with Environmental Systems Design, Inc. Read more from them about smart buildings.