A minor history of technology could be written from a study of what amenities hotel signs used to boast about. Signs used to brag about having “air conditioning”, “color TV”, “HBO”, “Internet access”, etc. You may still see some of those around the country but they seem old-fashioned and out of place. Why? Because with all of these things, the novel became the day-to-day. Ubiquity transformed once-rare amenities turned into expectation.
The origins of building management systems go back to 1883 and the invention of thermostats, simple devices that activated lights in buildings’ boiler rooms that indicated when a furnace required more coal. These devices evolved to automatically control steam radiators, hot water and, eventually, HVAC systems, with centralized systems slowly taking over operations as computer technology advanced. The late 1980s saw these systems converted to distributed digital computers (DDC) that communicated with the central system and, by the mid-1990s, the central computer could even communicate with the Internet.
The travel industry lost an estimated $880 billion during 2020 due to the global pandemic, causing dramatic effects throughout the hospitality industry. Hotel occupancy rates in the U.S. reflect this; falling to 38% in 2020, down from 66% in 2019. Yet this crisis also helped drive digital transformation in the industry to meet new demands, such as contactless check-in. In a very real sense, the pandemic has forced the hospitality industry to evolve.
Every hotel has to adjust to the changing demands of travelers or risk being left behind. This can be as simple as putting desks in a room and calling it an office suite or as complex as revamping your energy system to become more eco-conscious. But increasingly, the latter is becoming an important way to appeal to guests, reduce energy costs, and create more sustainable infrastructure.
Administrators of healthcare facilities worldwide are increasingly deciding to incorporate new technologies to achieve greater energy efficiency in hospitals. In India, for example, Kohinoor Hospital recently achieved platinum certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for using LED and CFL light bulbs, along with photovoltaic solar power to run its air conditioning equipment. In Singapore, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital uses energy-saving lighting and solar panels along with sensors and other IoT devices to regulate its energy usage. At the heart of these systems is a building management system (BMS) that continuously monitors electricity consumption and building equipment to minimize waste.
Building management systems (BMS) usage is rising between 15% and 34% annually. As the American Society for Industrial Security notes, this extraordinary growth is driven by “the demand for energy and operational efficiency and sustainability, increasing government regulation, and greater monitoring, control and operability.”
Commercial property managers have a lot to deal with. They are constantly working to find and sustain tenants, adapt to changing market demands, and adjust to new occupants. Balancing these needs with the needs of the building itself can be a challenge.
Ensuring government buildings function day in and day out is a complex task. That’s why intelligent automation in government buildings is critical for alleviating the challenges of conventional building automation systems (BASs).
One of the greenest buildings in the world is The Edge. Located in Amsterdam, it uses natural and LED lighting, resulting in 70% less electricity usage than comparable office buildings. Oriented along the sun’s path and using solar panels covering much of its roof and south-facing walls, the building produces more energy than it consumes, providing power for the entire property. Deep wells pump warm water into an aquifer that stores thermal energy, pumping it back up in winter to provide radiant heating, while air ventilated through the roof keeps it cool in summer. Additionally, the building collects rainwater in big barrels for toilets and drip irrigation in a garden that includes beehives and a habitat for bats.
The late 1980s saw a transformation in architecture, as a humble Kansas City architect named Bob Berkebile sought to convince the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to become more environmentally conscious. Wanting to move architects toward designing structures that reduced their impact on the environment, Berkebile approached the AIA’s board of directors about forming a committee to study how the industry could better address these issues.