What do you think of when you hear the term smart buildings? Coffee machines that use face recognition to deliver coffee just the way you like it? Perhaps an indoor climate fully adapted to your own preferences? The list of possible services in a smart building can be made endless. However, smart buildings and indoor comfort are strongly connected and in this article you will learn why.
Smart buildings can, through different functions and services, directly have a positive effect on our health and well-being (to a greater extent than the perfect cup of coffee…) and contribute towards an improved IEQ, Indoor Environmental Quality. By creating the best possible IEQ, the performance capacity can be increased significantly. According to the WELL standard, a well-ventilated office can double cognitive ability, if it too hot performance can decrease by 6%, if it is too cold performance can decrease by 4%. Studies have also shown that high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have a negative impact on cognitive ability and strategic thinking.
A smart building can collect data via sensors and other technologies in order to optimize the building’s performancefor instance by reducingthrough reducing energy usage, optimizing how the property is used and minimizing its environmental impact. The collected data can also be used to optimize the IEQ in the building. We list four examples that many consider being the deciding factors for good IEQ and how functions in the smart building can optimize these factors:
Air qualityA smart building incorporates all the prerequisites to ensure good air quality. By measuring with CO2 or VOC sensors, the air can subsequently be regulated, if a booking system is used for the conference room which in turn is linked to an indoor climate system, the conference room and its air are ready to receive 50 guests exactly when the meeting starts. A smart building can also ensure that the air feed is not polluted.
Thermal comfortMany smart buildings have their own building app where a great deal of information and settings can be adjusted by the individual user. By using an indoor climate system, such as Swegon WISE, that is designed for the smart building, the temperature, air quality and humidity to name but a few, can be regulated to the right level. Is it too warm? Too cold? With just a few touches on the mobile, the technician takes care of the rest and delivers the required indoor climate, completely tailored to the wishes of each individual.
Incorrect lighting can, for example, contribute to tiredness, tension in the neck/back and flicker from lighting sources can give rise to stress reactions in the nervous system. In order to achieve a good indoor climate it is important to invest in good lighting. Light comes partly from natural daylight (outside), partly from the internal luminaires. Here the smart building can contribute with smart lighting solutions on different levels.
- Occupancy control – The lighting is switched on when the room is occupied
- Unoccupied control – If no occupancy is detected within a predetermined time interval, the lights are switched off
- Daylight control – This means that the brightness is constant irrespective of the source of the light. If it is a sunny day outside, the internal luminaires are dampened, while if it’s cloudy the level of the internal luminaires is increased.
- Solar protection – Sunshine is usually glorious, but not straight in your eyes when you are working! Demand-controlled solar protection solves this problem.
Acoustics are perhaps difficult for the smart building to adjust on the fly. However, through measuring and collecting data for sound levels, you can make improvements based on these. Maybe you need to assess your ventilation system? Maybe acoustic tiles are needed? More carpets? More plants might be needed which also contribute to improved productivity and creativity, win-win!
To sum up, Indoor environmental quality and smart buildings are strongly linked to each other. In order to create the best possible Indoor climate you need to be able to measure and regulate CO2-levels, humidity and temperature according to the values that are most important for individual well-being and performance – something that is possible in a smart building.