Ron Zimmer, president of CABA speaks at the Intelligent Buildings: Design and Implementation seminar at AHR Expo 2018.

The future of intelligent buildings

Jan. 24, 2018
The CABA-presented seminar reveals the results of a $130K research project.

The “Intelligent Buildings: Design and Implementation” seminar presented Tuesday at AHR Expo 2018 revealed some of the findings from a $130,000 research project conducted by Frost & Sullivan. Both the survey and the seminar were initiatives of the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA).

The seminar room was near to capacity, giving some idea of the level of interest in intelligent buildings among Expo attendees.

The survey gleaned 655 responses, 85 percent of which came from the U.S., and the remainder from Canada.

A working definition of intelligent buildings came from Frost & Sullivan speaker Nabeel Parkar. “An intelligent building has two or more integrated and interoperable systems that aid in intelligent decision-making regarding its operational state at present and in the future.”

Key findings of the survey include an expected 46 percent growth within the next two to three years. Lighting and HVAC are expected to be the leading technologies.

Two key issues in building automation and implementation today include first, the exclusion of building owners and occupants, and second, contractors with little knowledge of intelligent building products being given too much control.

Key to successful implementation is getting building owners and project partners included from the very first stages of the project, defining goals and establishing metrics. Oddly, only 30 percent of those surveyed are using these best practices, connecting architects, design-build contractors and technology consultants from the very beginning of a project.

According to Ron Zimmer, president of CABA, there are more than 300 different systems that could be connected in a building. Zimmer went on to say that intelligent building have the added value of employee retention; employees either want to stay in their company’s intelligent building or transfer to their company’s intelligent building.