What Businesses Get Wrong About Creating Smarter Buildings

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Top 10 myths of smart building performance – thoughts from Colin Dyer, JLL President & CEO, LinkedIn Influencer

The below post was originally shared on LinkedIn by Colin Dyer, who encourages property-owners to consider the value of making smart technology investments when looking to improve the performance and value of their buildings.

Dyer, ColinBuildings around the world are demonstrating “smart” behavior today, thanks to automated systems that save energy, streamline building operations and prevent expensive equipment failures. Yet the value of making smart technology investments remains unclear to many people. Here are some of the misconceptions our smart building experts deal with as they help clients improve the performance and value of their properties.

#10: Smart investments are expensive investments. Smart building and technology investments typically pay for themselves in 1-2 years, thanks to energy savings and other operational efficiencies. Some companies, P&G for example, see ROI from smart building programs in a matter of months.

#9: Smart technology is only about energy. While reducing energy usage and cost is often a key first step, state-of-the-art smart systems can also detect when building equipment is close to failure, alerting building managers to issues before they become major problems. Smart building systems can also prevent full-scale system failures, particularly valuable for manufacturing facilities, trading floors, data centers and hospitals and laboratories.

#8: “Smart” and “green” are one in the same. “Smart” and “green” features may overlap, but aren’t identical. Smart technology combines IT services — like sensors, monitoring systems, automated controls — to enhance performance, whether for speed, connectivity or security. For real estate, “green” sustainability programs include strategies that go beyond performance through building-automation systems, and improve energy and environment efficiencies.

#7: Industrial facilities and laboratories can’t become smart buildings. Why wouldn’t they? Among other factors, smart facilities are those that utilize electricity wisely. From medical labs to apartment buildings, energy- and electricity-consumers come in all shapes and sizes, and each one can be built or modified to become smart and highly automated.

#6: Smart technology only applies to new products. Some of the smartest building products are not new. Rather, they’re retrofitted, updated versions of earlier versions. Smart upgrades have made immense impacts on nearly every industry – and commercial real estate is no exception. One example: following an extensive, phased retrofit, New York City’s Empire State Building has exceeded projected energy savings for two consecutive years.

#5: Smart technologies can’t work together. First-generation technology, equipment and controls tended to be designed as proprietary systems. But affordable, innovative and new technologies produced by multiple manufacturers – wireless sensors and monitoring systems, for example – now make it possible to connect disparate systems which gather data and optimize performance. An example is IntelliCommand, a smart building management platform, which provides real-time facility monitoring and control across multiple locations using technology.

#4: There is no business case for smart products and technology. Studies and surveys show that anything that increases energy efficiency, reduces occupancy costs and improves productivity is valuable to building owners and tenants. Tenants, for example, increasingly expect smart building features like zoned heating and ventilation, equipment maintenance alert systems and advanced security systems.

#3: Smart buildings need to be on a network of energy suppliers and users. It’s true that smart systems and buildings benefit from being supported by advanced electrical grids. But even without a smart grid, building owners and investors can receive a range of benefits from smart technologies and management systems.

#2: Operating a smart building is complicated. Smart buildings are often easier to operate than those lacking automation systems. For example, smart building management systems can integrate work-order management applications, translate equipment-repair and maintenance data into performance analytics and pinpoint equipment issues in ways that far surpass human abilities. Our systems once diagnosed a problem that had gone undetected for 15 years, enabling building managers to resolve a recurring equipment malfunction.

#1: Smart choices are a no-brainer. In fact, this one isn’t a myth. As affordable, smart building technologies are introduced and adopted by the marketplace, building tenants are coming to expect smart building features, and owners and investors are seeing solid returns on their investments in smart systems.

Watch “Smart Buildings – No Brainer” video to learn more, or visit IntelliCommand‘s website to see tours and videos demonstrating how the technology operates and optimizes buildings’ performances.

Explore Colin Dyer’s LinkedIn profile for the above post and further insights about corporate real estate, business management and the global economy.