Laura Sanchez 2017-04-21 18:01:38
What’s it like to set foot inside the world’s most intelligent smart building? Welcome to Amsterdam’s The Edge, an ultra-sleek example of today’s enlightened construction, and the epitome of functional style. The building’s ethos—het nieuwe werken, or the new way of working—places it at the forefront of smart building technology as the workplace of the future. Collaborative technologies and extraordinary connectivity set The Edge apart from other smart buildings. Its 28,000 sensors collect gigabytes of data daily. This information allows the structure to interact with the people that work within it, and even anticipate their needs. At the epicenter of this connective technology is a smartphone app developed by Deloitte, the building’s primary tenant. The app dexterously links each individual to the infrastructure. It recognizes them by the car they drive and helps them locate a parking space when they arrive on the premises. It knows their meeting schedules for the day and adjusts the lighting and temperature in their work spaces according to their individual preferences. It even knows what kind of coffee they like and whether or not they take sugar. Sensors, advanced controls, and interpretive management software make today’s smart buildings better able to respond to human needs, and able to optimize processes for increased efficiency. According to a 2016 Markets and Markets report, the smart building technologies market is forecast to grow 34% annually over the next five years, to reach $24.73 billion by 2021. But today’s building infrastructure is not only increasingly responsive and intelligent, it works in concert with various equipment systems. By working together, these technologies can collectively reduce energy consumption. The Edge, for example, has motion, temperature, light, and humidity sensors on its 6,000 led lighting panels that signal to power down heating and lights when spaces are unoccupied. By employing networked sensors and energy analytics software, these features enhance occupant comfort and productivity while conserving energy. We’re thrilled to highlight smart building technologies in this issue of Distributed Energy magazine. From the diverse capabilities of contemporary glass, to intelligent pump systems, and energy resources shared among buildings, we look at innovations that are increasing the efficiency of our infrastructure and enhancing our day-to-day experiences. In “Glass: A Clear Solution” (page 16), we explore advancements in window covering technology from coatings and metallization, to innovative programmable electrochromic, thermochromic, and photochromic materials that change properties based on temperature or light. These intelligent materials support energy efficiency with enhanced thermoregulation and variable light permeability. We highlight the role of pump operations in the building envelope in “Defying Gravity” (page 10) and look at technologies such as booster pumps and optimized distribution designs that facilitate moving water from place to place within smart structures. Today’s intelligent pump systems and controllers can communicate with building management systems in order to provide both cost and energy savings. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), fully-integrated buildings can use 30% less energy than buildings with independent systems. Similarly, by allowing energy to be traded across property lines, community microgrids can create a highly efficient energy ecosystem. In “Community Microgrid” (page 24) we observe the value of these energy networks as a means to support power reliability, renewable integration, and reduced energy costs through the lens of projects in Hunter’s Point, CA, and Long Island, NY. In “The Missing Value” (page 44) we observe the benefits of a continuous energy audit. By monitoring energy usage with advanced submetering and real-time analytics, rather than a one-time snapshot of consumption, we see how continuous energy audits can identify shifts in energy signatures within smart buildings and minimize the degree to which energy is misused. Innovative materials, unified energy systems, and consolidated data streams reinforce the belief that increased collaboration and connectivity will make our buildings, cities, and energy future more stable, efficient, and resilient. In what ways does your organization use smart building technology to enhance its energy performance? DE
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