Intelligent Buildings

Building Automation Systems (BAS) and Intelligent Buildings


What is a Building Automation System (BAS) ?

Building Automation Systems (BAS) date back to 1883 when Warren Johnson invented the mechanical thermostat, which controlled a damper in the basement of his Wisconsin classroom. Fast forward through the 1900’s, BAS progressed to computer and application-controlled environments.

However, Building Automation Systems are not the same as intelligent or “smart” buildings. Traditional Building Automation is usually self-contained (not connected to the internet), while an intelligent building requires a network connection. Think of it as the nervous system of a building, where data input is taken from every person, parking lot, room, and hallway in the building. These data points are analyzed by a central software that can then alter the internal environment activity. For example, if a meeting room is booked for a brainstorming session, the building will utilize cool toned lighting and reduce the temperature before the meeting even begins. This is because the building’s intelligence system is aware that cool toned lighting and temperature can positively impact cognitive function. The building can work with you to enable peak performance, and the only input from you was selecting a purpose for the meeting.

Internet of things (IoT) solutions in commercial buildings provide greater efficiency, cost savings, safety as well as comfort. Imagine having an application on your mobile device that can direct you to the nearest parking spot close to your desired building entrance. Perhaps you need a parking spot with an EV charging doc for your car? All you would need to do is reference the application on your mobile device.

Some office buildings are so large that even employees need help figuring out where they are going. A smart building application can make it possible for anyone with access to view an interactive map of the premises. It will even allow you to type in a specific employee and show you the route to their office. The list continues from remotely turning off lights, locking specific doors, and even paying for your lunch or vending machine snacks – all from your mobile device. Smart building technology creates a direct link between your needs and your environment.

Check out The Edge, Deloitte’s corporate headquarters located in Amsterdam. The Edge is currently the most intelligent building on the planet.


Did you know...

that the average human spends 80% of their life inside of a building? To snowball on top of that, 90,000 hours of an average human’s life is spent at work.  The term “smart building” is thrown around a lot but most people don’t understand what it means. Implementing smart capabilities to the workplace can positively impact the environment, employee satisfaction, building security, as well as safety.


Why are intelligent buildings important?

It is easy to see why smart buildings are desirable from an employee standpoint, but the benefits don’t stop there. Smart buildings are designed to minimize environmental impact.

Solar panels and ventilation units are utilized to maximize heat recovery. When the building has achieved enough energy for its own functions, excess energy can be returned to the power grid. On a sunny day, Varennes public library in Canada can produce 60 kilowatts beyond its own energy need.

Smart buildings can also collect and utilize rainwater for toilet use, and on-premise gardens or foliage display maintenance. Many large smart buildings, especially in metropolitan areas, are adopting the practice of planting greenery on their roofs and balconies in effort to decrease pollution in the air. Rainwater collection and distribution makes rooftop or balcony planted trees painless and simple to maintain.

No matter how old or outdated a building is, smart capabilities can be implemented. All that is needed is an internet connection. So, what is holding you back from decreasing cost and environmental impact, all while increasing employee satisfaction in the workplace? Nothing, the answer is nothing.

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