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Finding Reality in a Virtual World

By Ken Sinclair

The following two articles talk about the finding sustainability within the building’s occupants and exploring the human side of our responsibility in providing our built environments. These are extremely interesting discussions as they will lead to us unlocking the secrets of the true value of people productivity and help us create buildings that the inhabitants will want to work in.

"BIM Designed - Certified Green - Carbon Neutral" — But what about the occupants and is it really sustainable? — Chris Thorne, freelance intelligent buildings consultant, founder, developer, Model IB

"As BIM (Building Information Modelling) takes its place on the stage of innovative building design and cohesive collaboration, environmental certification – LEED, BREEAM, and others - assure quality, and systems convergence streamlines and enhances operational efficiency and response, we should have arrived on the doorstep of sustainable buildings. But hold on a minute – as we look inside we need to ask ‘has the wellbeing of occupants and users been fully considered and is sustainability performance actually being measured’?

"A study of over 700 American construction professionals found that architects, owners, human resources executives and contractors are willing to pay more for buildings with demonstrated positive impacts on health, and cited many financial benefits to such buildings, including lower healthcare costs, higher levels of employee satisfaction and engagement, lower absenteeism and higher productivity (McGraw Hill Construction, 2014).

"There is an emerging movement of advocacy for the development and implantation of health and wellbeing strategies in the built environment (Clements-Croome, Aguilar and Taub, 2015). So let’s consider ‘wellbeing’, which according to American psychologist Abraham Maslow is a comprehensive term that encapsulates a hierarchy of needs that includes physiological, psychological, social and personal needs (Maslow, 1943)"

"Designing Humans into Buildings" — I’d like to hear from you on your examples of human-centered building automation. — Christopher Naismith, learning manager, SES Consulting

"In recognition of the missing human element in building automation, SES hired a behavioral specialist, Darla Simpson five years ago. Darla’s insights have allowed us to look deeper into the way occupants feel about, and interact with their spaces. Consistently, we have seen better retro-commissioning results when we take the time to engage the occupants on what they really need out of the building. In doing so we are able to create relationships and foster ownership over the conditions of the work environment.

"I can imagine a future where human needs are integrated at every level of the built environment, essential collaborators in the evolution of the space. After all, could we ever hope to create an analytic engine as powerful and adaptable as the human mind?  (Maybe, but that’s a topic for another discussion.)

"In the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a brain take the place of the hand as the symbol of human-computer friction, telling us that ‘yeah, we’ve got problems, but we’re thinking our way through it.’

"I’d like to hear from you on your examples of human-centered building automation as I’m sure there are many examples that I’ve never heard of."

Back in 1999 I wrote an article "Your Building Address as a .com?"

"We have selected this article to be in our first launch issue because we think it sends us all a wakeup call as to how significant the Internet is going to be in the future. Our site is aimed at the Automation of Buildings and integration with the Internet will become just another step."

Of interest this example building in San Francisco is still has the Web address connected and working, showing the longevity of the Internet.

Today's connected building needs, in addition to a Web presence, to have several social media presences that interact with the building address Website. Social media can create a powerful interactive occupant engagement and connection creating a socially connected building. We have never before had powerful tools like social media in the hands of our occupants; this is a powerful new connection fabric that needs to be explored in the realm of the possible.

The above thinking is a good start on how we have to change our focus to the purpose of our buildings, “the people,” and make those buildings desirable to occupants. Never before were able to measure accurately occupant satisfaction but with several flavours of social media and constant virtual connection we now can find reality in a virtual world.

Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com about what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.

Part 1: A Road Map of the Possible for Connected Buildings



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posted on 7/3/2015