Urenio Watch Watch: Smart Buildings

Raised Floor Systems, Data Analytics and Smart Building Design in a Post-COVID World

Smart building design is a rapidly growing shift in how architects and engineers look to design buildings that can easily adapt to new technology. The buildings of today need to be able to easily accommodate the technology of tomorrow. Gutting and re-constructing buildings as newer and more efficient technology becomes available is not only inefficient ‘” it’ s not even feasible.
While building owners want to be on the cutting edge, there are still costs associated with adopting any new technology, and like any project, budget is at the center of every decision.

Data Analytics in Smart Building Design
Data analytics is the art and science of capturing raw data and transforming it into useful, actionable information.

  • Data is used to improve NOI of commercial office space. In most cases, the software solutions available focus on reducing energy costs or improving employee productivity or controlling PoE lighting.
  • Space utilization is what drives profitability in commercial real estate. Maximizing the use of space to net the biggest returns is a difficult task at scale, but the problem beyond capturing the right data is actually being able to act on it.

The cost to retrofit a building or change up the layout of a commercial space is time-consuming and expensive. So, for facility managers that have been able to implement data analytics into their building management systems, what good is the data if you cannot do anything with it?

Flexible Raised Floor Systems
Efficiency in building design has paved the way for significant cost reduction and energy savings. In the past, many buildings used traditional raised floors as a means to circulate heating and air throughout the building. While this type of raised flooring is still used in server rooms and other applications where airflow is critical, this type of raised floor doesn’ t quite solve the need that technology has created, like’¦ where do you put all of the cables??

Raised floor systems for cable management
Before there were low-profile floors designed for building cable management, data, power and voice cables needed to be run through walls, floors or ceilings. None of these locations are easily accessible and all require either tearing a portion of the building apart or spending all day going up and down a ladder running cable.

This is a nightmare for installers and electricians. More work means a longer install process, and a longer install process means higher costs.

Future-proofing flooring installation from Day 1
Whole building design is the body of thought that encompasses all of the techniques, technology and systems used to create modern high-performance buildings. Smarter buildings require smarter infrastructure, starting from the ground up. Early raised floor systems were bulky and heavy and required core-drills and a long install process. Modern low profile raised floor systems were developed to future-proof buildings and allow the architect, the building owner, the electrician, the installer ‘” and every stakeholder in the install process ‘” the ability to change direction or reconfigure in the middle of a project, next year, or ten years down the road ‘” without tools or anything else.

Smart building design in a post-Covid world
In 2020, the world dramatically changed the way we work and live. As of this writing, the Coronavirus has affected (and infected) millions of people around the world. Businesses around the world were forced into making snap decisions to ensure business continuity. Supply chains around the world were disrupted. The biggest lesson brought on by this disaster was the need to be adaptable.

As businesses struggled to service existing customers and keep employees and staff safe, new rules on compliance rolled out on nearly a weekly basis. The situation shifted so fluidly that whoever could not keep up simply had to go out of business.
The biggest question that organizations must ask now is if they have to change tomorrow, can they?

  • For facility managers: Can we re-configure our office space on a weekend to adapt to new social distancing rules?
  • For organizations: If we need to cut staff, can we easily downsize how much square footage we are using and re-negotiate our lease?
  • For building owners: How fast can we ready our space for a new tenant if one (or more) of our current tenants go out of business?

Smart buildings are a reality. Data is everywhere. But what good is the information if you do not have the power to act on it? The smartest “smart’ buildings are made to adapt, from the floor to the ceiling. And, if the goal is to maximize NOI, utilize your space in the most efficient manner possible, and be forward thinking in your building design, you have to start somewhere. The best outcomes begin with Gridd.

Anne Davis
September 19, 2020