Building services are systems installed to improve the efficiency of large buildings. Traditionally, these systems managed the electricity, lifts, security, fire safety and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) of a building. They were less automated and necessitated a lot of building inspections to ensure their reliability. With advancement in technology, however, more aspects of a building can be centrally managed—thus the term 'smart buildings'. Here are some of the aspects of modern building services systems:
- Occupancy – Smart buildings utilize occupancy sensors to activate lighting and climate control. The sensors can be in the form of motion detectors and thermal sensors to detect the presence and number of individuals in a room. This conserves energy by switching off lighting and equipment in the unoccupied building and also eliminates the need for a security guard to perform daily building inspections to switch them off.
- Lighting – Lighting in a smart building is controlled by timers or photo sensors. Some rooms also dim the lights when a projector is turned on. Some smart green buildings, like the Jeffrey Smart Building, incorporate renewable energy into their system.
- Room Automation – Some rooms also have their own automated functions. A boardroom, for example, will have many devices interconnected to give the members a seamless interaction. One simply plugs in a flash drive into a port on the conference table and the PowerPoint presentation is displayed on the big screen.
- Access Control – Secure sections of a building can only be accessed at certain times. A bank safe, for example, cannot be opened in the middle of the night. Such an irregular event would trigger an alarm. Building services are also incorporated into corporate networks so that an employee cannot log into a computer without checking in at the entrance. Factories also use the system to log overtime on the payroll.
- Alarms and alerts – All sensors in a smart building are connected to a system that directs them appropriately. Security and fire alarms sound sirens while the failure of critical services is sent as a text message or email to the facilities manager.
With the advent and future development of Internet of Things (IOT), more services will be automated. The interconnected nature of IOT will connect buildings into a smart city. Smaller and cheaper devices are being developed to reduce the investments required for these buildings.
For more information, contact a local company like Jeffrey Hills and Associates.