Program B Research Library
Healthy and sustainable workplaces
Smart technology and the sustainable workplace
Deficiencies in the design and operation of office buildings can give rise to high social, environmental and economic costs. As a result, there are significant pressures and incentives to develop smart building technologies that can facilitate improved indoor environment quality (IEQ), and more energy efficient operation of office buildings. In response to this, a six-month scoping study was undertaken to examine how different technologies could be used to improve the triple bottom line for office buildings. The objective of the study was to look at the history, trends, drivers, new technologies and application areas related to the operation of healthy and efficient office buildings.
A key output from the study was a recommendation for a prototype system for intelligent monitoring and control of an office environment, based on identified market, technical and user requirements and constraints. The study found that there is significant potential to use sensor technology to improve HVAC and lighting systems but that there is no incentive for the building owners and developers to implement such improved systems because of the outdated model for procurement, management and delivery of building services to the tenants. There is however incentive for the building owners to implement technologies which can facilitate a user-pays model for the provision of the building services.
The report suggests that for any new system to be successful, its features should be coupled with the capability to distribute costs to individual zones within a multi-tenanted building. The report thus recommended that a system be developed which can measure and break down the energy usage in an office building according to the different users and by type of energy. It further recommended that the prototype development be conducted in three phases:
  1. detailed system design
  2. bench or laboratory trials
  3. field trial ― implementation into a single level of an office building.

Smart buildings for healthy and sustainable workplaces (Scoping study report)