The evolution of building automation systems for hospitals comes as the Internet of Things (IoT) and other technologies have lowered the costs of automation and are opening up new opportunities for creating safe, healthy, and efficient environments.
Natalie writes about trends in commercial real estate technology, building data analytics, master systems integration and controls for building systems.
An intimate jazz concert took place in October 2020, in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, at a downtown bar in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. An audience of less than two dozen students and faculty from the University of Illinois sat listening, all of whom had recently tested negative for Covid-19. For some of the performances, the musicians performed wearing masks or with covers over their instruments’ mouthpieces; the rest of the time, they did not. While they played, a mechanical engineering professor experimented offstage, altering the airflow at the venue throughout the evening by turning on and off exhaust and recirculation fans. His students monitored air quality to determine how well-ventilated the building was by measuring the presence of fine particles and carbon dioxide concentrations.
During the summer of 2020, the United Kingdom’s government responded to substantial pressure from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to prioritize energy efficiency in an effort to revive the economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the government committed £1 billion to retrofit public sector buildings. This “green recovery” not only provides much-needed infrastructure to increase energy efficiency, but is creating jobs throughout the UK, preparing buildings for low-carbon heating, and setting the country on a course to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
With climate change accelerating and built environments accounting for nearly 40% of energy use worldwide, energy efficiency has become a key objective for building management. Smart building technology offers tools for achieving optimal energy efficiency using IoT sensors that generate comprehensive data on equipment functionality and environmental conditions. With the assistance of automated building management systems (BMS), analytics software, and big data, energy consumption is more easily controlled and occupant comfort is improved.
Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, and the air we breathe when inside a building can have a big impact on our health. Airborne pollutants indoors can occur at up to five times the concentrations of outside air, leading to the development or aggravation of respiratory health conditions like asthma, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia. Several studies have even found that buildings may even concentrate contaminants present in the air from their immediate vicinity.
The best way for building owners and facilities managers to make Internet of Things (IoT) technology effective involves thinking first about what this technology can accomplish for their particular situation. When looking at creating a smart system with advanced automation, IoT devices should be chosen with careful consideration of the problems they are meant to resolve and the practicality of any possible solutions in each building. By identifying specific objectives, you can make better decisions about which technologies to introduce.
In August 2020, Toronto-based TD Bank Group announced its intention to become a leader in sustainability by helping other businesses finance their own transitions to a low-carbon economy. This decision followed its 2008 commitment to become carbon neutral, which resulted in an asset portfolio that included 100 LEED-certified locations as well as two branches and an administrative building that require zero net energy. Now, TD plans to dedicate $100 billion to lending and financing low-carbon projects, internal asset management, and corporate programs to support these efforts.
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 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.
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.