Sustainability in buildings

Smart buildings: what they are and how they work

Sustainability and energy efficiency hand in hand with smart buildings

Smart buildings: what they are and how they work

According to data from the World Tourism Organisation, close to 5% of the total CO2 emissions caused by humans in 2005 occurred in the tourism sector, with hotels and similar establishments being the main culprits. Added to this, is the increasingly worrisome energy price crisis of recent years. All of this has encouraged hotels to look, more than ever, at energy efficiency.

Among the solutions considered by the hospitality sector, the use of new technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are prominent; and this has resulted in the proliferation of so-called smart buildings.

Do you know what these are? Here, we explain all about them.

What is a smart building?

Smart buildings are premises equipped with innovative materials and technologies for significant automation and self-regulation of their systems. They are intended to improve usability, optimise efficiency and increase security and accessibility.

Based on information and communication technologies, smart building systems include heating, security and ventilation and are equipped with networked sensors providing continuous data on building conditions and system performance.

Any smart building is capable, for example, of controlling lighting and temperature via these sensors. How? Software is responsible for collecting and interpreting information, which enables predictive maintenance according to building occupation or seasonal changes.

What are the benefits of smart buildings?

Among their many advantages, are efficiency and sustainability. Here are just some of their benefits:

  • Reduced energy consumption: As commented above, sustainable buildings have smart sensors that reduce energy consumption, by starting up only when necessary. This, in turn, reduces the carbon footprint of the facility.
  • Large collection of data: Smart buildings collect vast amounts of information, or big data, which is used to identify trends and find optimisation opportunities.
  • Increased safety: This is because the remote controls and monitoring used in smart buildings anticipate errors and decrease risk. Early warning systems can lead to the discovery of problems in the plumbing or heating, for example. Their advanced security systems make them much safer and better protected places.
  • Better use of space: Sustainable buildings are designed for a pleasant user experience; complying with safety regulations at all times while trying to improve standards to provide a better quality of life.

What technologies do they use?

If there is something that differentiates smart buildings from the rest, it is their technology; providing them with numerous benefits deserving of the "smart" label given to them.

These are some of the technological systems used by sustainable buildings:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Artificial intelligence (AI) is used in construction due to its numerous advantages, among which are its predictive capabilities to minimise costs, manage labour, improve project planning and minimise risks.
  • Virtual reality: Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies allow visualisation of a smart building before it is even built, and can be integrated into it to entertain its occupants.
  • Internet of things (IoT): This consists of a series of smart, web-enabled devices that use embedded systems, such as processors and sensors, to collect, send and act on the data they acquire from their environments. Combined with AI, it makes information gathering even more efficient.

Energy saving devices for hotels

At Omnitec, we propose solutions for the hotel and catering industry to make it more efficient and reduce its impact on the environment, while also lowering electricity bills. In fact, these can be reduced by up to 60% after installation of some of our systems.

Below, is a summary of the latest energy saving devices for hotels, which are becoming more and more popular:

  • Movement sensors: The motion sensor for hotel rooms can optimise electricity consumption, as their different technologies detect whether or not they are occupied.
  • Door and window sensors: The highest energy efficiency is achieved when a door and window sensor is combined with movement sensors. Depending on the situation, the economiser can manage electrical devices in one way or another, seeking a balance between comfort and savings.
  • Other traditional devices: If you prefer to make a more modest investment at your accommodation centre classic energy savers are another not insignificant option. They operate with any card and can reduce energy consumption by up to 30%.

Remember that at Omnitec, we are specialists in solutions for access control systems, electronic locks and energy savings in hotels. If you need additional information about our services, please get in touch with our team so we can advise you.