Knowledge leads to reductions in power?

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Rob Greenoak
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

A student recently asked if they could interview me on the topic of ‘What makes a building intelligent?’. In preparation, I explored the generally held perception of what an “intelligent building” is. Entering the words ‘Intelligent Building’ into Wikipedia (where else?), I was directed to a page on building technology and automation.

This perspective, that technology defines how intelligent a building is, is one I’ve heard voiced before. It was one the student held. It reminded me of an article in Building magazine. The article began by saying that some in-use buildings consume two or three times more energy than predicted at design stage. The first reason provided:

“The selection of solutions that are too complicated for end users and FM personnel to understand. Often these are ignored or manually overridden by occupants”

In addition, our Energy Services engineers tell me that during a building assessment, aimed at reducing a building’s energy consumption, the first thing they target is adjustment of the building management system. All of this got me thinking, and to my point…

Technology only provides a foundation for increasing a building’s intellect and reducing its energy ‘footprint’. However, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the people. The people who own it, yes. The people who occupy it, indeed. The people who manage it, most importantly. An intelligent building needs those people operating it to be educated on how to operate it.

After all, knowledge is power, right?

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