Smart Building Systems Beyond HVAC
There are also numerous other systems that can be deployed across a facility campus to smartly automate the environmental and safety conditions present in the facility. For example, there are companies that have transformed streetlights into smarter, remotely managed networks, which improve energy efficiency and safety in and around these areas. While these systems have mostly been deployed in cities such as Oslo and Beijing and show energy reductions of as much as 62 percent, the technology and benefit could be carried to the lighting and campus management around commercial buildings.
Likewise, there are smart, social, and mobile-based technologies that support the use and management of safety systems like fire extinguishers which are common, required, and a significant maintenance challenge for many facility managers. Because of that challenge, the current condition and status of these devices may not be checked on a routine basis. Consequently, “smart” fire extinguishers have been developed that monitor for tank pressure and space clearance and are able through Bluetooth technology to notify facility managers when these checks are found not to be in compliance or the extinguisher is removed from its mount.
While these systems will not all be available or deployable in all buildings or campuses, it is important to understand the possibilities and purposes of social and smart technologies. The growing availability of these technologies both for personal and commercial use is important and must be leveraged by building managers and operators to both improve facility efficiency and customer and consumer experiences in those facilities.
Adam S. Crowe is director of emergency preparedness at Virginia Commonwealth University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.