2022 Predictions: Smart Buildings

CEO of Infogrid, William Cowell de Gruchy, gives his take on digital in the built environment

2022 will be the year of a smart building revolution

In today’s world, businesses are more environmentally aware than ever before, with many pledging to limit their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. To reach this target, organisations will be doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint, and a great place to start is right in their own workplace. Space and hot water heating accounts for 21% of the energy used in the UK. Further to this, 19% of the UK’s Greenhouse Gases come from heating the places we live and work in, and 10% of the UK’s electricity consumption comes from air conditioning units. Businesses can make a big reduction in their CO2 emissions in 2022 by developing a better understanding of how they use HVAC systems with smart building technology. 

These systems currently operate in a data vacuum, businesses often have little information beyond what they set on the thermostat. The latest Machine Learning (ML) algorithms can optimise for efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by collecting data on systems and office environments, allowing businesses to extract insights from this. While moving to a new, more efficient building might seem like a good idea, building construction is incredibly energy-intensive and produces high levels of carbon emissions. Smart building technology has an immediate impact and can keep existing buildings viable for much longer. 

In the next 12 months and years to come, we hope to see businesses make smart and sustainable choices to ensure they are making an impact on net zero targets and have their own ‘house in order’. The workplace environment has been a data blind-spot, and 2022 will see that change as more organisations look to improve their building’s efficiency. Smart building tech such as ML algorithms provides this and lets companies fix problem areas, saving money and CO2 emissions. Feels like a win-win!

 

Machine learning will enhance employee productivity

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for a healthy working environment. Whether businesses are returning to the office full-time or implementing hybrid working models, a healthy workplace is an increasingly important factor in maintaining employee morale and even in the recruitment and hiring process. 

Another growing concern is how the workplace environment affects productivity. Many office workers will have stories of their eyes drying out due to low humidity, or a colleague wearing gloves in the office because it’s been too cold to type, leading to low productivity levels and increased errors. 

Businesses are currently lacking data on the workplace environment. In 2022, we expect to see more companies adopt new smart building technologies such as machine learning platforms to collect data where there previously has not been any, and provide analysis that businesses can use to create a more productive working environment, resulting in increased employee well-being.

 

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