December 2012

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
(Click Message to Learn More)

Intelligent Buildings

From Theoretical to Practical

Paul Ehrlich, Ira Goldschmidt & Angela Lewis
Building Intelligence Group

As published
Engineered Systems 
December Issue - Column

New Products
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Site Search
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Past Issues
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Over the years I have written articles, delivered talks, and participated in industry events promoting the concept of the “Intelligent Building”, so when I was recently asked by a colleague to define the concept of an Intelligent Building, I was ready to roll out a standard answer – something like this:

“Use of technology and process to create a sustainable building that is more productive for its occupants, and more operationally efficient for its owners”

This would be followed by a description of open systems, networks and integration of building systems.  Instead I paused and realized that while all of that is true, there is a large gap between the theoretical definition of an Intelligent Building and the practical project delivery that we work on every day.  The theoretical smart building has building systems on a shared enterprise network, and a vast variety of systems connected including HVAC and lighting, fire alarm, security, elevators, blinds, etc.  The practical systems are driven by owners’ goals to reduce energy costs and to provide a practical platform for operations.  Here are the key characteristics of what comprise these systems:

[an error occurred while processing this directive] The end result is a practical application that meets owners’ goals and provides tangible benefits.  With the advent of new energy efficiency standards under ASHRAE 90.1 2010, the use of optimization and integration is moving from being desirable to required. 

Without doubt, Intelligent Buildings will continue to evolve.  What we are delivering today will become an expectation in the future.  It is a fairly safe bet that as the benefits to larger scale integration are more clearly defined they are a natural extension to these systems and the theoretical vision of today may become the practical reality of tomorrow.

About the Authors

Paul and IraPaul and Ira first worked together on a series of ASHRAE projects including the BACnet committee and Guideline 13 – Specifying DDC Controls. The formation of Building Intelligence Group provided them the ability to work together professionally providing assistance to owners with the planning, design and development of Intelligent Building Systems. Building Intelligence Group provides services for clients worldwide including leading Universities, Corporations, and Developers. More information can be found at  We also invite you to contact us directly at or


[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[Click Banner To Learn More]

[Home Page]  [The Automator]  [About]  [Subscribe ]  [Contact Us]


Want Ads

Our Sponsors