Why your existing building can be just as smart as new

Smart buildings are often shiny, new and purpose-built. But that’s not an option for smaller firms. How can you transform the space you already have? A new report may have some answers

The draw of a shiny new office space is strong and many companies have designed and built new office spaces since the pandemic. But for many smaller companies this is an expensive proposition and given the construction industry’s significant contribution to global emissions, should we be building new offices at all?

A new report co-authored by Spacewell and smart building consultant and ex-CIO of Deloitte Erik Ubels, titled The Smart Building Guide: How to Enhance the Value of Your Existing Building, aims to tackle how companies can use the structures and technologies they already have to make their buildings work for them better, eliminating the need for newly built spaces.

Smart buildings can be difficult to define but are broadly spaces which have a network of technologies which work together to respond to both occupants and environmental conditions. The aim is to create a building which is safe, sustainable, user-friendly and efficient to run. Transforming your building into a smart building can have significant benefits, seven of which the Spacewell report identifies.

Smart benefits

  1. Sustainability – Increasing energy efficiency is the most well-known benefit of smart building solutions, but technology can also help make a building more circular – evaluating materials and products used for cleaning, and even supporting with the dismantling of a building at the end of its life. Long-term, smart buildings can help cut energy costs and keep emissions low, helping to meet and succeed sustainability targets.
  2. Space optimisation – Monitoring space usage to better understand working patterns and optimise the space at your disposal is also vital to help support real-estate decision-making as well as ensuring that employees have the right mix of space to carry out their work.
  3. Comfort – Within an office space, employee comfort is achieved through a combination of heating, humidity, noise, lighting and other environmental factors. Adding sensors which monitor these factors in your building and optimise comfort can boost your employee experience.
  1. Ease of use – Smart buildings can be controlled through the use of an app or web interface which can support both employees and facilities management team , enabling them to control their environment, collect and assess data quickly and easily.
  2. Wellbeing – Smart buildings can support wellbeing initiatives, helping to monitor the quality of air, water and other factors within the building and assess the overall effect of the building on employee health in order to ensure the environment is safe and healthy.
  3. Productivity – Productivity can be improved by a combination of environmental factors that create comfort and space optimisation in order to ensure that companies are offering staff the spaces they need to do their best work.
  4. Management and maintenance – Smart buildings can provide facilities management teams with the information they need to maintain their building in the most efficient and sustainable manner, making it easy to prioritize and decision-make efficiently.

‘Productivity can be improved by a combination of comfort and space optimisation…’

These are seven key benefits to transforming your space into a smart building through the use of sensors and other technologies. This might require investment but will ultimately be cheaper and easier on the environment than designing and building a new office from scratch.

Find out more about how to begin your smart building journey here.

Spacewell is a Corporate Member of WORKTECH Academy.
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