Access Control System

Access control systems are a critical component in smart buildings as security has become more important. The access control system is also essential for life safety and is interfaced to the fire alarm system to facilitate building egress during life safety evacuations. Access control systems must interface or integrate with several other smart building systems (video surveillance, HVAC, and others) as well as share data with business systems, such as human resources, time, and attendance.

In a smart building, one electronic access control system for non-public areas should be deployed. Within secured areas the access control system would provide two levels of authentication. The system should support offline operation to allow doors to function if network connectivity is lost. The access control system should be supplemented by an intrusion detection system at potential unauthorized entrances, such as windows. While access cards are generally used in many systems, biometric authentication may be utilized for an additional degree of security.

The access control system should be configured to maximize security. For example, its use of vertical transport systems (elevators) can provide selective access to floors based on occupant identity, as well as spaces such as parking and garages.

Security levels would be determined by individual, floor, or areas, and access privileges can be changed in response to building occupancy states (i.e. time of day). An access control system can also generate anonymous occupancy statistics for building spaces and zones. Such data can be used to correlate occupancy to other building systems such as energy consumption or lighting schedule. One of the largest problems with access control systems can be piggybacking and tailgating. Piggybacking happens when someone with legitimate access to a building allows someone without access to the building to come in with them. Tailgating involves taking advantage of someone who legitimately has access to the building, where a trespasser enters the building with a person (or group of people) without their knowledge. One way to prevent piggybacking and tailgating is a mantrap shield that use sensors to ensure that only one person is entering the building using one set of credentials. Mantrap shields can also be configured with separate compartments so that if more than one person is sensed passing through the first door, the second door will remain locked.

Sustainability and Innovation

Green buildings and smart buildings have different focuses but they also overlap. A primary component of a smart building is energy efficiency and sustainability, acknowledged by an industry certification such as LEED, and a clear policy and plan for energy management by the building owner. This plan may involve delegation of responsibility for energy consumption, as well as tracking, monitoring, and reporting systems for energy consumption. In addition, building owners would participate in demand response and automated load shedding in cooperation with the utility company

Innovation is integral to a smart building. Innovation by the building owner, designer, contractor or manufacturer that can demonstrate benefits, value and exceptional performance should be recognized and incorporated into the methods or criteria for deploying a smart building.

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