Many of us have made the transition and have become smarter workers.  Some of us still are still working to achieve that goal.  There are a variety of ways businesses approach making smarter working environments, from open floor plans to adopting universal communications.  But what if tools and people weren’t the only things we could make smarter? What if we could make the very office buildings we work in as smart as our computers, and have them automate tasks for us?  It may sound like something from the future, but it is possible right here and now, and it can actually save you money.

So what makes a building smart?  Automated systems allow a variety of different tasks that can improve employee performance and save resources.  Sensors built into the building check for changes in the environment and make adjustments as needed.  These systems are used to maximize comfort for staff and minimize energy use.  All systems run through a control system with parameters setup by engineers.  You can use the system to heat or cool individual rooms, all from a computer console or by automated settings.  The sensors can detect if a room filled with people is getting too much carbon dioxide in the air, making it uncomfortable for all the occupants.  It then will automatically open extra vents to the outside to let more fresh air inside the room, thus fixing the problem.

Smarter buildings also strive to save you money by being green and wasting less energy.  The sensors can detect how much light there is in a room, and dim or turn off the overhead lights when then sun is shining through the windows.  The sensors are so advanced that it can even do this over each individual cubicle.  Buildings account for near 40% of all energy and 70% of electricity used in the world.  Reducing their use is not only a great step for the environment, it is a great step for your wallet.  Organizations that optimize their buildings through infrastructure upgrades like these save 15 to 25 percent of their energy bills on average.

If you use access cards for your building or offices, this is even better.  Smart building systems can tie your access cards to the system and your private office.  Once you scan your access card into work, your temperature in your office is adjust just how you like it and the lights are turned on for you.  When you scan out, the lights turn off and the temperature goes to something a little cheaper.

Nifty tricks are not the only benefit to smarter buildings though.  They are also safer.  Having a building filled with sensors that can report data back to you helps maintenance personnel keep up on any anomalies and correct problems.  Sensors not only alert them to issues, but help them track down problems when they have trouble locating them.  These advantages can save on maintenance costs and improve building safety for all your employees.

So if you have already invested in smarter working methods for your employees and their tools, maybe you should look into your building next! Let us know what makes your building smart in the comments!