Essential Attributes of a Smart Building


  • 3.1 Cabling Infrastructure, Lighting Control Systems, and Facility Management Systems
  • 3.2 System Integration, Audio-Visual Systems, and Water
  • 3.3 Occupant Satisfaction, Fire Alarm, Networks and Security
  • 3.4 Electrical, Building Metering, and Video Surveillance Systems
  • 3.5 Advanced Building Management Systems, Communication, Data Infrastructure and HVAC, Access Control and Sustainability
  • 3.6 The Constantly Evolving Smart Building

Cabling Infrastructure, Lighting Control Systems, and Facility Management Systems

Building owners, engineers, designers, contractors and facility management organizations are all aiming to build new buildings or renovate existing buildings identified as smart buildings. In general we think of smart buildings as being innovative, using advanced technology and materials, contributing to reduced energy usage, improving the building's sustainability, and providing more efficient and effective operation. But the high-level understanding of smart buildings doesn't do justice to the concept; a catch phrase doesn't assist design teams or contractors, and it really doesn't reflect the complexity of today's buildings.

Generally, ethereal attributes describing smart buildings don't help in defining a smart building so that the industry can have a common understanding of the concept. In contrast, look at green buildings or energy efficient or sustainable buildings; here you'll find dozens of countries with environmental or energy building certifications with specific details on the requirements to be certified as a green building. Recall twenty years ago when the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) was formed, the idea was to provide the building industry with a system to define and measure green buildings. We need a similar effort for smart buildings to support the building industry.

There have been various attempts to define a smart or intelligent building. They include the Asian Institute of Intelligent Buildings (AIIB), the Building Research Establishment Ltd., the Intelligent Building Society of Korea (IBSK), the Shanghai Construction Council (SCC), the Architecture and Building Research Institute, the Ministry of the Interior of Taiwan and finally the Smart Buildings Institute (SBI) in the USA. (

The SBI has certified buildings in the Americas as well as internationally. The SBI certification structure is similar to LEED, having prerequisites, with other credit-based measures where applicants earn points during construction and operation of the building. SBI also developed educational content that really isn't available elsewhere, such as advanced automation, system integration, and so forth

Defining the attributes of a smart building cannot be done in few words; buildings are too complex and the features of a smart building too numerous. The following sections will frame the major attributes of a smart building and provide details.

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