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What is a smart building?

A smart building is one that makes use of technology to help you get the most out of your property while optimizing the resources you have. Buildings were considered smart until recently if they could automate activities such as air conditioning, heating, ventilation, lighting, and so on using a building management system. Today, with the advancement of technology, especially “Internet of Things”, the definition of a smart building has changed. Smart building systems today use sensors, actuators, advanced communication protocols, AI/ML-based cloud computing, Web dashboards, and other IoT technology to monitor and control entire building systems remotely. These smart building solutions can help you improve the asset performance and dependability of your building while lowering operating costs, energy consumption, boosting occupant comfort, and reducing overall environmental impact.

Benefits of a smart building

1. Reducing energy consumption

reducing energy consumption in smart building

IoT-based smart building systems can collect data from sensors and offer it to you in the form of critical insights. Smart monitoring enables you to understand not only where, when, and how your building consumes energy, but also where, when, and how energy is wasted, such as when equipment is running when it isn’t needed or isn’t performing optimally due to poor maintenance, inefficient settings, or a low power factor. As a result of such insights, energy usage and costs are reduced.

2. Smart maintenance of building assets

Maintenance in smart building

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides smart building asset maintenance. This is also known as predictive maintenance, in which data collected via sensors is processed to detect irregularities in operations and potential flaws in equipment and processes so that they can be repaired before they fail. This allows you to keep track of the health of your building’s assets and take preventative measures before they collapse totally.

3. Better Centralized visibility

centralized visibility in smart building

Cloud computing and a web-based interface power IoT-based building automation, allowing you to remotely monitor all of your properties from anywhere on the globe using your laptop or smartphone.

4. Increased productivity

increased productivity in smart building

Ambient environment monitoring & control via sensors and automation of HVAC, lighting, etc. respectively deliver a workplace that promotes good indoor air quality, physical comfort, security, sanitation, illumination, efficient workflows. And the space that your staff requires to operate at their best will enable them to do so.

How do building owners assess their Smart Building?

The three aspects of every evaluation process are criteria, standards, and measurements. And these three components are also required to evaluate a smart building. SPIRE™The world’s first comprehensive smart building assessment and rating program has established criteria and standards. Next, in order to properly analyse your building, you must collect & compare certain data points to these criteria. IoT based smart building solutions can help you achieve just that! 

The Six criteria and how these are measured.

1. Connectivity

connectivity in smart building

The integration of heterogeneous technologies and products is common in large-scale smart buildings. The interconnection of various building systems and devices need a network capable of handling the load. In fact, without connectivity, optimising all other components of a smart building is nearly impossible. Connectivity enables building systems and applications to transmit, receive, and share data through connecting equipment and devices within a building and to external networks. 

The ability to effectively transmit data between internal systems and external cloud and service provider networks while also supporting future technologies and innovations makes up for the “connectivity” criteria in a smart building. And this criterion is measured based on the factors like Wireless, Retrofit, Adaptable, Flexible, Scalable, Security, and Central visibility.

2. Health and wellbeing

Health and well being in smart building

The goal of a smart building is to support and assist its occupants in thriving. A collaborative strategy is required to achieve this goal, which brings together all of the aspects of monitoring, controlling, and improving the building’s HVAC, lighting, and other systems for performance, comfort, and wellbeing. This method combines data from a variety of devices, sensors, and software applications into a single, cohesive picture to ensure that building occupants get what they require from their workspace. Indoor Air Quality, Thermal Management, Visual Comfort/Light and Noise Control, Water Management, and Odor Management are all variables that go into determining a smart building’s health and welfare.

3. Life and property safety

property safety in smart building

Building owners and operators place high importance on the safety of their occupants. From both a human and an operational aspect, occupant safety is more important than ever. The following variables are examined when assessing a smart building’s potential to optimise life and property safety beyond the requirements of legislation and codes: Situational Awareness, Building Emergency Plan, Integrated System Performance, Emergency Communication System.

4. Power and energy

Power and energy in smart building

Energy consumption and costs continue to be a big part of the operating budget for buildings, despite the fact that there are choices available to help reduce power consumption and costs. Intelligent energy management systems can aid in the monitoring and management of electricity production, consumption, and costs. Energy Use Management and Analysis, Demand Response, Grid Interoperability, and Distributed Energy Resources are the elements that can be used to assess this.

5. Cybersecurity

cybersecurity in smart building

Because of the rapid advancement of technology and the emergence of cyberattacks and backdoor mechanisms that threaten to disrupt critical smart buildings, a smart building’s ability to manage cybersecurity risk, benchmark capabilities, and set goals for improvement can be measured by ensuring adherence to the relevant statutory and regulatory requirements. SPIRE™ measures best practices through- Identification, Protection, Detection, Response, and Recovery.

6. Sustainability

sustainability in smart building

“A smart building is a sustainable building”. Many aspects of the smart building idea are covered by sustainable building criteria, including water, energy, and waste tracking, indoor air quality, lighting and acoustic qualities, and more. These criteria are used to judge whether or not a structure is “sustainable & smart”. SPIRE™ assess performance based on a wide array of existing frameworks and certification programs such as LEED, BREEAM, Green Globes, Living Building Challenge, WELL Building Standard, Fitwel, International Green Construction Code and CALGreen.


The above-mentioned criteria can help you assess your building and make the right decisions surrounding investment, planning, design & operation to enhance it further. It all comes down to having a benchmark, and a good benchmark is always one that’s based on criteria measured via hard, quantifiable data. Therefore the ability to collect data from a variety of sources is also critical to a successful smart building evaluation. Hence, ZenConnect, an enterprise-grade IoT-first solution. It’s a full-stack hardware light, software intelligent, retrofit-ready and cost-effective. It not only collects and monitors data, converting it into usable insights, but it also automates and controls critical assets, making your structure truly smart.

Keep up with the latest IoT-based building automation, and follow us on LinkedIn!

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