Smart building management for any size building
The OODS Group innovative Building Management Systems provide a strong foundation for intelligent buildings that inspire occupant productivity and deliver optimal energy and operational efficiency.
Intelligent Building Design
Intelligent buildings are creating outcomes that benefit all stakeholders.
The business case for Intelligent Buildings is clear. Economic outcomes include reduced operating and maintenance costs along with lower construction expenses. Environmental outcomes include energy reduction and sustainability. Experiential outcomes include greater occupant satisfaction, comfort, and control, along with increased productivity. Overall, these outcomes spur tenant demand, heighten competitive advantage and enhance assets.
A truly intelligent building is informative, predictive, responsive, adaptive, diagnostic, corrective, and self-healing. Rapidly advancing building systems, sensor technologies, the Internet of Things, data availability, and cloud computing and analytics — along with mobile communications — have created countless possibilities in the field.
The OODS Group brings together consultants, designers, project managers and integration specialists to provide a one-stop, team-based solution to your Intelligent Building challenge. We begin from project conception and business-case justification to launch your vision internally with organizational alignment and buy-in. We continue with strategic master planning and budgeting, with attention to phased implementation details. We move into project design, with complete construction documentation including building information modeling (BIM) and book specifications. We can assist with procurement and integrator contracting, and we provide a spectrum of construction administration from basic punch list to full-time on-site owner’s representation.
What is a Smart Building?
The first buildings ever constructed were primitive shelters made from stones, sticks, animal skins and other natural materials. While they hardly resembled the steel and glass that make up a modern city skyline, these early structures had the same purpose - to provide a comfortable space for the people inside.
Buildings today are complex concatenations of structures, systems and technology. Over time, each of the components inside a building has been developed and improved, allowing modern-day building owners to select lighting, security, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems independently, as if they were putting together a home entertainment system.
But building owners today are beginning to look outside the four walls and consider the impact of their building on the electrical grid, the mission of their organization, and the global environment. To meet these objectives, it is not enough for a building to simply contain the systems that provide comfort, light and safety. Buildings of the future must connect the various pieces in an integrated, dynamic and functional way. This vision is a building that seamlessly fulfills its mission while minimizing energy cost, supporting a robust electric grid and mitigating environmental impact.
At the most fundamental level, smart buildings deliver useful building services that make occupants productive (e.g. illumination, thermal comfort, air quality, physical security, sanitation, and many more) at the lowest cost and environmental impact over the building lifecycle. Reaching this vision requires adding intelligence from the beginning of design phase through to the end of the building's useful life. Smart buildings use information technology during operation to connect a variety of subsystems, which typically operate independently, so that these systems can share information to optimize total building performance. Smart buildings look beyond the building equipment within their four walls. They are connected and responsive to the smart power grid, and they interact with building operators and occupants to empower them with new levels of visibility and actionable information.
Enabled by technology, this smart building connects the structure itself to the functions it exists to fulfill:
Modern buildings contain complex mechanical devices, sophisticated control systems and a suite of features to improve the safety, comfort and productivity of occupants. Many of these systems involve machine-to-machine communication, but because the data is general in nature and the communication protocols have been proprietary, information only flows along certain paths. The smart building will require connectivity between all the equipment and systems in a building. An example is chiller plant optimization, which boosts the efficiency of chiller operation by incorporating outside weather data and information about occupancy. Another example is using data from the building security system to turn off lights and reduce cooling when occupants are not present.
The movement toward interoperable, connected devices and systems within a building requires cooperation between many different parties, many of whom are historical business competitors. The result is a building where lighting, air conditioning, security and other systems pass data freely back and forth – leading to higher efficiency, more safety and comfort, and lower cost operation of the facility.
The most sophisticated software and elaborate hardware in the world would be nothing but wires and transistors without the people that use them to work more effectively. In that sense, the people that run a smart building are a crucial component of its intelligence.
With budgets tight and staff constrained, there is no room for difficult training and steep learning curves in modern day facility management. Instead, a truly smart building provides intuitive tools that are designed to improve and enhance the existing efforts of the people on the ground. As the smart building evolves, the sharing of information between smart building systems and components will provide the platform for innovation. Future applications will appear as facility managers interact with tools and technology to do their jobs better – providing more comfort, more safety, and more security with less money, less energy, and less environmental impact.
A smart building can be considered a “supersystem” of interconnected building subsystems; it has been compared to the internet, which connects computer networks into one larger “supernetwork.” In a smart building, the integration of systems can be used to reduce operating costs.
There are numerous ways that a smart building can save money; most involve optimized operation and increased efficiency:
Dynamic power consumption – By taking signals from the electricity market and altering usage in response, a smart building ensures the lowest possible energy costs and often generates revenue by selling load reductions back to the grid. The open access to information is a platform on which significant value can be built. A smart building creates this platform by connecting information in an open format, allowing for the development of new applications that save time, energy, and operating costs, in the same way that new web applications are developed for the open information found on the internet.
For decades, building management systems have automated the process of providing just enough energy to heat and cool buildings to meet comfort standards. These energy efficiency measures contribute to an organization’s sustainability goals, such as tracking and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But if the data is trapped within the building management system, executive-level decision-makers cannot measure and act on it.
Translation software called “middleware” gathers data from all automated systems throughout an enterprise – regardless of manufacturer or communications protocol – and merges it into a common platform for analytics and reporting. One result is the emergence of web-based dashboard displays that offer