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Top 10 Smart Building Myths—Busted
Misperceptions Debunked - Smart buildings are a no-brainer and more affordable than most building owners and investors realize.
Senior Vice President
Energy and Sustainability Services,
Jones Lang LaSalle
Smart buildings have been proven to save energy, streamline facilities management and prevent expensive equipment failures. Yet, to many property owners and investors, the value of smart buildings remains a mystery. In this article, we debunk the top 10 misconceptions they encounter through their experience helping clients improve company performance around the world.
In most buildings, we can demonstrate a strong business case for strategic investments in smart building systems and management technologies. Not everyone is aware that the tremendous advantages of today’s affordable smart building management technologies easily justify the cost.
Myth #10: Smart Building Technologies Are Expensive. Myth Debunked:
Smart building technology investments typically pay for themselves
within one or two years by delivering energy savings and other
operational efficiencies. This smart building management pilot
program, for example, generated a positive return on investment
within several months.
Myth #9: Smart Buildings are Only About Energy. Myth Debunked: A smart building management system often can detect when a piece of equipment is close to failure and alert facilities personnel to fix the problem. Knowing the right time to repair or replace equipment extends machinery life, and reduces facility staff, operations and replacement costs. More dramatically, smart building management systems can prevent full-scale building system failures—potentially embarrassing to a Superbowl stadium host, but life-threatening in a hospital or laboratory.
Myth #8: Smart Buildings and Green Buildings are the Same Thing. Myth
Debunked: Smart buildings maximize energy efficiency from building
systems and ensure air quality, while a complete “green” sustainability
program includes strategies beyond building automation systems. So,
while “smart” and “green” features may overlap, they are not identical
concepts. The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)
explains the difference in Bright Green Buildings: Convergence of Green
and Intelligent Buildings, a comprehensive report authored with Frost
Myth #7: Industrial Facilities or Laboratories Can’t Become Smart
Buildings. Myth Debunked: All types of buildings—whether
residential or commercial—can be built or retrofitted to become highly
automated and smart. As illustrated in this infographic, even highly
specialized facilities such as laboratories can be outfitted with smart
Myth #6: Smart Buildings Can Only Be New Buildings. Myth Debunked: Some
of the smartest buildings in the world are not new at all, but have
demonstrated the return on investment in smart technologies. The Empire
State Building, for example, has exceeded projected energy savings for
the second consecutive year following an extensive phased retrofit
begun in 2009.
Myth #5: Smart Building Technologies are Not Interoperable. Myth Debunked: In the past, building automation equipment and controls were designed as proprietary systems. However, affordable new technologies, such as wireless sensors, now make it possible to gather data from disparate systems produced by any manufacturer, as evidenced by smart building management platforms such as JLL’s IntelliCommand, powered by Pacific Controls technology.
Myth #4: Smart Systems Don't Make a Building More Attractive to
Tenants. Myth Debunked: Anything that improves energy efficiency,
reduces occupancy cost and improves productivity is valuable to
tenants, as numerous studies and surveys attest. Tenants and their
advisors increasingly expect smart building features such as zoned
HVAC, sophisticated equipment maintenance alert systems, and advanced
security systems. As reported in JLL’s October 2012 Global
Sustainability Perspective, smart systems provide benefits for
tenants—and tenants recognize the benefits.
Myth #3: Without a Municipal Smart Grid, a Building Can’t Really Be
Smart. Myth Debunked: It’s true that smart buildings gain
functionality when supported by advanced electrical grids installed by
municipalities and their utility company partners. But even without a
smart grid, owners and investors can draw a wide range of benefits from
smart buildings and a smart building management system that can monitor
entire property portfolios.
Myth #2: Smart Buildings Are Complicated to Operate. Myth Debunked:
Combined with a smart building management system, a smart building is
often easier to operate and maintain than a building that lacks
automated systems. A smart building management system can integrate
work-order management applications; pull equipment repair and
maintenance data into performance analytics; and pinpoint equipment
issues to a degree not humanly possible. On one client site, for
example, IntelliCommand diagnosed a programming problem that had been
undetected for 15 years, enabling facility managers to resolve a
recurring equipment malfunction.
Myth #1: Smart Buildings Are a No-Brainer. Myth NOT Debunked: This myth
isn’t a myth at all —it’s actually true. As affordable new technologies
are adopted, tenants are beginning to expect smart building
features—and owners and investors are beginning to realize the return
on investment in smart systems.
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