The Advantages of Smart Buildings

Smart buildings have come a long way since Mark Honeywell unveiled the first programmable thermostat back in 1906. Today, smart building technology has expanded far beyond the original temperature controls and water heating systems to include security, emergency, and energy management.

Advanced integrated building technology includes building automation and telecommunication systems that can control anything from heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security, and even user-centered functions like wayfinding and conference room scheduling.

With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and IoT devices, the smart building promises a level of connectivity that will revolutionize the built environment and even the smart city. Smart technology will transform commercial buildings making them more like living organisms, with intelligent connected networks powered by adaptable interfaces and software. According to a study from Fortune Business Insights the smart building market value is expected to reach USD 109.48 Billion by 2026.

Bare Conductive’s Dynamically Functional Surfaces technology and development kits are directly addressing the market. Our services and products empower both global industrial partners, and creative individuals, to develop smart surface solutions that can integrate into floors, walls and furniture as we build them. Our printed electronics technology has the power to transform passive surfaces into smart active interfaces that serve specific use-cases, while deriving data from the built environment.

Why do we need smart buildings?

As governments pursue environmental targets to tackle problems such as carbon emissions and energy management, building owners are increasingly prioritizing the integration of smart technology to address energy consumption and energy efficiency in both residential and commercial buildings.

Beyond energy saving, organizations are looking to smart building technology to increase staff wellness and productivity, improve building operations, support sustainability efforts and enhance decision-making through data.

The benefits of smart buildings

Smart building solutions have the potential to offer benefits far beyond energy efficiency. Imagine working in a building that knows, and can adjust, to your preferences for light and temperature, that automatically turns systems on or off based on occupancy, or automatically monitors and reports cleaning events or water leaks to the building management system. In the future, buildings will be able to do this and much more. They will make occupants safer and more productive through occupancy monitoring, hygienic surfaces and streamlined interfaces. For a building owner and operator, this means lower costs through streamlined operational, tenant, security and performance management, and improved asset reliability. All of this, while lowering energy usage and reducing environmental impact.

There are many benefits to a smart building automation system, including real-time monitoring reports and communications, data and analytics, fault detection, remote control and adjustment, and proactive equipment testing. Industry leaders recognize this, and the revolutionary potential that IoT technology has to offer smart buildings, and they are looking for companies and technologies that can help them build the integrated smart building solution.

Bare Conductive works to meet these needs by developing intelligent building solutions that integrate into building management systems. Our touchless interfaces, occupancy sensors, water leak detectors and smart lighting technology can directly lower operating cost, increase efficiency, maintain hygiene and create extraordinary interfaces for building occupants.

Smart building technology

A smart building system today can employ a wide range of different technologies, materials and products for different outcomes and IoT applications. Some are active, and others passive. Some examples include:

  • LED lighting to reduce energy consumption
  • Air monitoring systems to monitor air quality
  • Motion detectors to conserve energy
  • Sensors to monitor occupancy
  • Photovoltaic panels to gather energy
  • Solar water heating systems to reduce energy costs
  • Electrochromic windows to reduce energy cost
  • Automated skylights to improve energy efficiency
  • Living walls to enhance air quality
  • Ultra-low flow and flush plumbing fixtures to conserve water

At Bare Conductive, we develop smart building sensors using capacitive sensing technology. We focus on building intelligence directly into floors, walls and furniture from the point of manufacture, providing integrated, scalable and cost-effective solutions for the smart building. Our Dynamically Functional Surface technology links to the cloud, providing real-time data on sensor usage which can be used to improve efficiency or monitor events.

There are three main use-cases for our capacitive sensing technology in smart buildings:

Smart and dynamic interfaces – Integrating interactive elements into building surfaces and materials to create active elements such as switches, keypads, buttons, dimmers and more. These can trigger light, sound, or any other control element required either through touch, or touch-less inputs for hygienic or automated solutions. When integrated into the smart building, these can remove clutter, or provide energy saving automation.

Occupancy sensors – Whether for monitoring space efficiency, controlling energy consumption, or for security, our sensors can remotely monitor occupancy for desks, rooms, or spaces throughout the smart building. Sensor data can be used for monitoring events or for building automation.

Water leak detection – Incorporating or retrofitting discrete and thin water leak sensors into floors allows for real-time monitoring of leak events or high moisture content. Sensors linked to a smart building‘s automation system allow for early detection of volumes as small as a droplet, preventing potentially costly damage by alerting the system before a leak turns into a flood.

As technology advances, and IoT sensors and connected devices become more prevalent, smart buildings will increasingly include both active and passive technology. Smart technology will enable building occupants to arrive to work and have temperature, furniture, and lighting automatically adjusting to their preferences. It will allow building managers to gather data from the environment to ensure people, spaces and equipment are being used as efficiently as possible.

We’re excited to be a part of the smart building revolution not only because it makes economic sense, but because it makes sense from a design perspective. Living in a world where our surroundings are intelligent and interconnected will be better for our wallets and our environment, but most importantly, it will improve the quality of our day-to-day experience.

To read more about our technology and industry solutions check out our technology page.

To prototype your own smart surface, explore our range of development kits.