In the previous blog post we have looked at the evolution of the concept of Intelligent Buildings, how it is shaped by technology, and how it has turned buildings from a closed, self-contained system into an open, integrated one.

Here readers should be reminded that the concept of Intelligent Building serves as a template, a guide for designing, constructing and managing efficient buildings. It groups all the possible innovations and best practices into one model. Architects, engineers, and building managers can adopt various aspects, like in the case of the Deloitte building in Amsterdam.

Why are Intelligent Buildings important?

Several factors are boosting the economic case for adopting Intelligent Buildings approaches and technologies.

First, populations around the world are more and more urban. According to the World Health Organization [1], the urban population in 2014 accounted for 54% of the global population, up from 34% in 1960, and is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050. In other words, cities will add another 2.5 billion people by 2050, in addition to the 3.9 billion today. This is pushing up the value of urban space, turning Intelligent Buildings into cost-effective solutions. It is also pushing urban planners and developers to devise creative ways to optimize urban space.

Second, resource constraints, sustainability pressures and greater environmental awareness are shaping business and governmental policies; smart grid solutions, which are rolled out around the world to optimize energy consumption, overlap Intelligent Buildings solutions.

Third, open data initiatives, whereby public authorities share their data with the general public to increase the efficiency of their services, is propelling the development of smart cities. Again, smart city technology overlap that of Intelligent Buildings.

Fourth, since the late 1990s there has been a shift towards considering the total cost of ownership rather than the initial capital costs. This has led to the assertion that building owners and operators should aim for a 1:5:200 ratio between capital costs, building-related costs and business operating costs [2]. Also, more emphasis is being placed on the productivity of buildings and their occupants. In other words, the value of buildings today extends beyond that of the bricks and mortar of which they are made.

To summarize, the need for smart urban policies, with their efficient use of space and resources and the ability to increase user productivity, are driving the adoption of Intelligent Buildings. What was once a collection of expensive nice-to-haves is increasingly turning into cost-effective musts.

In the next blog post, we will take a closer look at the future of Intelligent Buildings.



[1] United Nations (2014). World’s population increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas.

[2] Evans, R., Haryott, R., Haste, N. and Jones, A. (1998) The Long Term Costs of Owning and Using Buildings, London, Royal Academy of Engineering.