> FOCUS BY CLAIRE SWEDBERG
global specifications vice president, Lutron Electronics Co.,
By starting with a manageable first step, companies can take
a strategic approach toward creating an intelligent building
that will save energy without a substantial early investment.
Using data for long-term strategy
Building intelligence connects facility managers with information about their energy consumption. That connection saves
them money in the short term and helps them make decisions
to further capitalize on those savings.
According to Stamford, Conn.-based technology research
company Gartner, small to mid-sized businesses tend to be most
successful with a “think big, start small” approach. The first step
is recognizing the initial budget and return on investment with
an eye on scalability. Some companies make the mistake of trying to address all of their problems with a single retrofit or new
construction, despite the limits of their IT staff and budget.
Intelligence can be as simple as light or power meters to
help management understand the power consumption, seeing
The smart building market is expected to grow from $5.73
billion in 2016 to $24.73 billion by 2021 at a compound annual
growth rate of 34 percent, according to a recent report by ana-
lyst company MarketsandMarkets.
According to Tom Leonard, vice president of marketing
and product management for Leviton’s Energy Management
Controls and Automation Business division, there is already a
great deal of awareness among building owners and managers.
“[However,] they need the expertise of a professional electrical contractor to help them achieve real promise and potential
of these technologies,” he said.
Electrical and low-voltage contractors and integrators are
assuming the role of educators, spreading the word about how
to make single spaces or entire buildings more intelligent. As
the technology evolves into simpler systems with the flexibility to grow, contractors, integrators and customers should plan
and ensure all parties understand the costs for each phase of a
deployment, the potential for energy savings, the operational
efficiency, and the benefits in comfort for those who make these
buildings their workplace or home.
For many buildings, that means a modular approach that
is easier to install than the smart building solutions from just
a few years ago. Today, facilities have access to sensors and
management solutions that can be dropped into a building
immediately or included in a construction process without
affecting the existing cable systems. For this reason, building
owners and the contractors that serve them are pursuing more
phased approaches to building intelligence, said Eric Lind,