Smart buildings must begin with smart planning and designers must play their part by considering connectivity at the beginning of the design process.
That was the foundation of a talk on ‘Building Better Buildings Through Connectivity’ given by Spencer Allen, GEZE UK’s National Sales Manager for Window Technology, which took place at the Smart Building Show, London.
Placing people at the heart of design, construction, operations and development decisions, will in turn create “added value” by boosting productivity and generating cost-savings in human resources and building management, he outlined.
Controlling a building’s systems – its heating, lighting, ventilation, air conditioning or other application, will offer improved efficiency, reduction in energy consumption and an extended life cycle of products used throughout the building.
But the greatest return on investment could be seen by providing better workplaces for its occupiers, he stated.
A staggering 90 per cent of an organisation’s expenditure is spent on its people – by way of salaries, ‘on-costs’ and benefits according to Knoll Workplace Research. This compares with only 10 per cent spent on operations and energy consumption.
“The need to look after our people is evident,” he said. “Maintaining the health and satisfaction of employees will result in a greater return on a significant investment in any organisation’s running costs.”
It is estimated that we spend as much as 90 per cent of our time indoors (source: WELL Building Inst PLC 2015) so indoor space is crucial to our well-being.
“Since its launch in 2014, the WELL Building Standard has been integral in highlighting a growing aspiration across the built environment to develop spaces that uphold the well-being of the people using them day-to-day. A WELL Certified™ project has the potential to add measurable value to the health, well-being and happiness of building occupants. It can also generate increased savings and productivity to the building owner or manager,” said Spencer.
Much of this can be achieved through better ventilation, he suggested. “Natural ventilation will save a property between 10 and 30 per cent in energy consumption, help remove air pollutants by as much as a third to allow for better breathing environments, provide low maintenance and easy-to-access operation of windows, helping staff feel “in control”, and more satisfied in their working environments.”
He highlighted how technological advances had brought about greater opportunities for connectivity and how intelligent hubs like the GEZE Cockpit could integrate natural ventilation with the management of automatic doors, smoke and heat extraction, escape and rescue route management and access control.
“But this requires a vision,” he insisted. “The forethought of designers in considering the end game, the proposed use of the building and the desire to create a workplace that puts people at the heart of how it should operate.”