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Smart Buildings Make Smarter Cities

Mr. Priyanshu Singh, Country Manager, Honeywell Building Solutions, India

The government of India has launched an ambitious and transformational scheme to develop 100 Smart Cities. These smart cities will be enabled by a number of smart solutions including those targeted to infrastructure, energy, transport, utilities, environmental sustainability, and communication. Government and civic authorities are key enablers for significant portions of civic and administrative infrastructure, utilities, and public amenities.

However, individuals, private building owners, and businesses can also contribute by making private and public buildings smarter. After all, the smarter the buildings, the smarter the city will be.

People spend 80 to 90% of their lives in buildings, making buildings an integral part of their ecosystem. With the adventof new technologies, the role buildings play is being redefined from a static environment to a more dynamic and interactive space that impacts the lifestyles, wellbeing, and productivity of their occupants.

In our research on this subject, we came across multiple evaluation frameworks for buildings. However, there was no single framework that could be used by all stakeholders such as users, occupants, developers, and policymakers; across countries (most frameworks are driven by industry associations within a particular geography); and comprehensively across the three broad aspects of smart buildings - green, safe, and productive.

Green: The "green" aspect in buildings is well known, and for good reason. The economic and sustainability benefits of green buildings have been proven through extensive academic and applied research.

Safe: The "safe" aspect in buildings is not equally well researched or illustrated. The value of human life and property is critical and should be given the highest priority in any building.

Productive: The conversation around productive buildings is still nascent. However, this is the one area that is likely to see the fastest change in relevance and importance, driven by two major megatrends: connectivity and comfort.

Hence, the Honeywell Smart Building Score has been developed to be a universal framework for quick, comprehensive, and easy assessment of any building. It can be administered across countries with minimal adaptation. The framework of the Honeywell Smart Building Score is also flexible and adaptable for future enhancements as applications and solutions for smart buildings continue to evolve. Fifteen smart elements in each building are rated on their green, safe, and productive outcomes, based on pre-defined parameters of capability, coverage, and uptime. The Honeywell Smart Building Score is then arrived at as an average of these green, safe, and productive outcomes.

The Honeywell Smart Building Score was applied for the first time in more than 2,000 buildings across eight Indian cities to validate the tool, and assess building smartness. Key takeaways from the research are:

  • Buildings score highest on green, lowest on safe features
  • Focus of smart system investments is still on basic needs of electricity, ventilation, and communication
  • Public and private buildings have similar scores, indicating that opportunities and needs exist for both sectors
  • Scores across verticals vary significantly. Of the 10 building verticals researched, airports and hotels have the smartest buildings; the residential and education verticals have the least smart buildings

Finally, the white paper identifies a clear call to action for key stakeholders in the ecosystem:

Government and policymakers: The Honeywell Smart Building Score could help add a valuable enabler to the smart cities strategy and guidelines. The incentives provided to green buildings should be extended to include safety and productivity in buildings as well. Public buildings could set for benchmarks for private participation in the drive towards smarter buildings

Users, owners, developers: All three aspects - capability, coverage, and uptime - need to be focused on. The Honeywell Smart Building Score could be used to take purchase and leasehold decisions, and to drive vertical-specific strategies for smart buildings

Industry associations, consultants, architects, and service providers: These influencers could create benchmarks, drive education, and demonstrate the economic argument for, and benefits of, smart buildings to build smarter cities. The Honeywell Smart Building Score has been launched in India and will drive data, analytics, and action in smart buildings around the world.

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