By Brian Coogan, Director of Intelligent Buildings, Ethos Engineering
As anyone working in commercial development knows, digitally Intelligent Buildings are rapidly transforming the way we work for the better.
Unsurprisingly, prestige high-tech companies are at the forefront of this innovation as they can see the exceptional benefits that smart technology brings - from cost savings, to sustainability to creating a far more engaged and productive workforce.
Ethos Engineering is an organisation embracing this technology and leading the data-driven construction revolution.
Ethos MD and Founder Greg Hayden says, "In Ethos Engineering our mantra is ‘innovate or die’. We can see that the North Star of commercial real estate is the “Real-Time Intelligent Building” which enables and supports the users and local community - and our goal is to enable and lead that into the future.’
Brian Coogan is director of Intelligent Buildings at Ethos Engineering and is a self-described digital transformationist. He has been both creator and lead consultant on multiple Intelligent Buildings projects.
The Ethos director is a passionate believer in the exceptional potential for intelligent buildings - and is an exponent of the critical need to invest in optimum design and technology to ensure ‘right first time’ principles and to manage and operate businesses efficiently.
Coogan believes it’s time to accept that traditional building development methods do not, and cannot, achieve data-driven digital solutions.
He says, "What many people don’t realise is that the creation of a digitally intelligent building is in effect two projects in one. It is both a technology and a construction project so the traditional construction approaches cannot and will not drive the optimum solution.
“Developers and architects who have not appreciated this have unfortunately made costly mistakes,” he says.
He believes that what’s needed for intelligent design is an expanded and inclusive team to ensure success.
"We now know there’s a critical need for Digital Design Consultants as part of the standard design team” Coogan says. “The Digital Design Consultant fills the vital gap between the client’s desired outcomes, the collaborative data engineering, the integrated technical designs and it’s implementation”.
Design cost is not an issue, believes the director.
“Smart design does not have to be expensive design,” Coogan says. “Well-executed intelligent buildings designed expertly by digital experts capture and exploit the power of data and create user-centred designs that are a pleasure to work in for years to come.”
Coogan believes that Covid 19 has had a dramatic effect on how we work - and has revealed the true potential for Intelligent Buildings.
Indeed as 2020 has shown, change is now a given and to this end, commercial real estate owners need buildings that are agile and can adapt to significantly changing circumstances.
Coogan acknowledges that buildings are now competing with the home as a work environment, and that it is imperative that buildings offer the spaces, tools, and connectivity to meet the ever-changing cognitive and emotional needs of the user - the result of which delivers increased productivity and fun, without any supplementary effort by the user.
Coogan says, “As an example, Covid 19 has driven frictionless interaction as the way forward. Thousands of sensors are embedded in digital ceilings and act as the eyes and the ears of the building.
“This means that people can get to their desks without touching anything. In well-designed intelligent buildings doors open automatically, lights go on, the lift arrives and opens on cue,” he says.
“The journey from kerb to desk is facilitated every step of the way enhancing people’s safety and wellbeing.”
Meanwhile, the power of data also contributes to a significant difference to the running costs of a building - while creating an exceptionally responsive and intuitive working environment.
Coogan, who is also an advocate of carbon neutral buildings, adds, “Intelligent buildings should be capable of looking after themselves. They should not be continuously pulling on external resources”.
Using real-time data can significantly enhance organisations sustainability by adding to the decision-making process of intelligent buildings, allowing for enhance optimisation.
Coogan says, “As an example; data provided by the room booking system will highlight a town hall event. With this knowledge the building will know where most of the people will be and for how long. Based on this data, the HVAC system will alter the cooling to meet this upcoming usage change. The final data input will come from the space utilisation sensors. As this real-time data confirms the movement of people is as expected, the Intelligent Building will fully commit to optimised system performance.
Furthermore, in addition to optimising key building systems, real-time data captured from sustainability initiatives such as generating electricity through solar panels or harvesting and utilising rainwater can empower the building to look after itself, the users, and the local community.
He continues, “It’s a hugely exciting time. We know so much more now about how to tap into the true potential of these innovations and create consistency. And it’s this consistency through design, that will ensure Intelligent Buildings will work overtime for developers, for investors, for organisations and for people.”
The future looks bright. “The future of Intelligent Buildings lies in bringing together the right technical skillsets via the Smart Teamof the Digital Design Consultant (DDC) and the implementation team, Master Systems Integrator (MSI), to deliver intuitive people centred Intelligent Buildings, buildings that Millennials and Generation Z gravitate to and expect as a matter of course.”