What is an Intelligent Building?
Source: DATS India
PEOPLE BEGAN talking about `Intelligent Buildings' in the early 1980s. The need for a more efficient and integrated control of the systems within a building began to be felt as workplaces began to be increasingly computerised.
The operations of the electronic system of an intelligent building can be divided into four categories - energy efficiency, life-safety systems, telecommunications systems and workplace automation.
The computerised systems in an Intelligent Building go by many names such as Building Automation System (BAS), Energy Management System (EMS), Energy Management and Control System (EMCS), Central Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) and Facilities Management System (FMS).
However, a standard definition of an Intelligent Building does not exist even now, may be because the industry is still too young.
At an International Symposium on May 28 and 29, 1985 held in Toronto, an Intelligent Building was described as one which `combines innovations, technological or not, with skilful management, to maximise return on investment.'
That was 20 years ago. Today's Intelligent Buildings have moved far ahead, incorporating the technological advancements of the last few years in building technology.
According to another definition given by the European Intelligent Building Group (EIBG), an intelligent building is the `one that maximises the efficiency of its occupants and allows effective management of resource with minimum life costs.'
DEGW, international design consultancy that has been specialising in intelligent spaces, defines an Intelligent Building as `one that is more responsive to user needs and has the ability to adapt to new technology or changes in the organisational structures.'
Another definition given by IBDN Intelligent Building Solution is that `an intelligent building is one equipped with the telecommunications infrastructure that enables it to continuously respond and adapt to changing conditions, allowing for a more efficient use of resources and increasing the comfort and security of its occupants. An Intelligent Building provides these benefits through automated control systems such as: heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning; fire-safety, security, and energy/lighting management.'
The Intelligent Building concept takes into consideration the fact that the true cost of a building is not only the cost of construction, but also the costs of operating, maintenance and repairs that come later. An Intelligent Building can help reduce the operating and maintenance costs to a great extent by controlling and regulating the systems within the building.
It is also possible to convert an existing building into an Intelligent Building by installing integrated systems. And remember, there are intelligent cities too around the globe. An example is Singapore, the island city-State of about 4 million people. An intelligent city is one where the entire infrastructure is managed more efficiently and effectively by the application of suitable technologies.
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