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CH2M white paper shares vision for new era of smart buildings, smart cities

What’s the future of smart buildings? See how we envision a bright future for smart buildings and their role in smart cities.

Most people associate “smart” buildings with automated technology. A smart or intelligent building is about more than enhancing digital technology; it is about leveraging all available and appropriate technologies to improve building performance, increasing durability and resilience, reducing consumption of precious resources, and enhancing occupants’ experiences.

Buildings, with today’s wireless technology, low-cost computing, smart devices and sensors, data analytics, and human interfaces, have become exceedingly complex. However, being complex and being smart are not the same thing. Most smart building features today tend to be discrete solutions; one vendor provides a smart lighting system, another a smart building management system, and another a smart security system. Do these piecemeal solutions make the whole building smarter, or just more complex?

As a leader in the design of advanced science and technology buildings, CH2M has developed a Building Performance Framework initiative dedicated to making buildings smarter for the sake of greater efficiency, not just greater complexity. This initiative consolidates multiple aspects of “smart building” technology into design tools to help building owners improve the sustainability, resource management, resiliency, efficiency, cyber security, and ergonomic appeal of the buildings they occupy.

As part of this initiative CH2M has produced a white paper that provides strategies to help building owners achieve smart building approaches tailored to their specific circumstances. It also addresses the symbiosis of smart building and smart cities thinking. The two must work compatibly to achieve macro urban visions of sustainable architecture, low-carbon energy production, waste disposal and grid sensors. A community’s smart building infrastructure will increasingly be expected to support sustainable waste recovery, recycling, recharging of electrical vehicles and aesthetically progressive work environments. In other words, smart buildings must be capable of benefitting their surrounding communities, not just their occupants. Resilience against natural disasters and smart security to protect against physical and cyber threats are also a vital component of smart building technology expectations. Information technology such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure constitutes the nervous system of next-generation smart buildings, responsible for holistically integrating a building’s many complex systems.

What we define as a smart building will continue to change and grow. The Building Performance Framework vision is rooted in the understanding that the specifics of smart building design vary with each building type. In the end, good decisions in smart building design are made by contemplating all features of the building in the context of how those features enhance the experience of those a building serves. Navigating this complexity and finding the emergent and synergistic benefits of this new paradigm is the mission of the 21st century design firm; a mission significantly aided by the Building Performance Framework.

For more information about CH2M’s comprehensive Building Performance Framework technologies and how they can be applied to your buildings, contact David Krick.


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