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Designing Smart Buildings for Singapore’s Growth

Benedict Soh, Vice President, EcoBusiness Division, Schneider Electric | Sept. 24, 2014
As building operational efficiencies improve, so will the overall efficiency of a city. It must be remembered that buildings are the main consumer of resources - electricity, water and the like. With more efficient buildings, these resources can then be channelled elsewhere in order to give a boost to other city systems.

In fact, in line with this trend of integration in building management, Schneider Electric has also reorganised its business, reflecting the importance of this shift. We have combined our Buildings Business unit and Eco Business unit in order for our customers to leverage the combined capabilities of building management, automation, control and monitoring. These come together to provide a comprehensive, one-stop solution for the needs of today's modern buildings.

Scalability for the Future: Scalability enables building owners and managers to gradually deploy new technologies to ensure the systems are delivering on their promise of a more efficient building. This agile, iterative approach lets building managers work within today's tight budgets while demonstrating a return on investment (ROI) to validate continued investment. This approach can start with something as simple as adding new wireless room controllers to increase occupant satisfaction while reducing energy usage. Power meters can be added to gather information on usage and an integrated BMS will pull in all of the data from the old and new systems in the building, to provide an overall view. The system can then be deployed across the entire enterprise and eventually managed using advanced cloud technology.

Customization and Personalization: A new trend in building management and operations increasingly focuses on the end-user to provide a more personalized experience. Every building management scenario is different, and the most impactful building management models occur when the organization can work the way it wants to, rather than conform to a "one-size-fits-all" approach. 

Choosing a BMS that can be customized to the building type (hospital, school, office space or public housing), and personalized to the user type (CEO, maintenance technician or home owners) ensures the building is being optimized for every level of functionality. For example, a C-level hospital executive may only require a high-level overview of hospital energy use to present to stakeholders, while a utility provider for the public housing needs to see the energy usage of every household to generate monthly bills. In addition, occupants in multiple types of applications such as schools and public housing can become engaged in saving energy by seeing a visualization of overall energy consumption in common areas.

Aside from these scenarios, it is important to remember that customization and personalization also plays an important role in the safety and security of the building. The BMS controls critical building systems and can literally have life and death consequences if systems fail. The BMS needs to ensure that only the right people can access and control systems and keep a detailed audit of who did what and when. 

The move towards open protocols is creating an opportunity to integrate the disparate systems in a building and in the near future, multiple building systems in a single dashboard. New technologies can be installed that optimize a building's operations while improving the use of resources without needing to overhaul the existing systems. With a scalable approach to upgrading, adding new technologies gradually allows building managers to demonstrate the ROI of system improvements as they scale up to a fully integrated BMS. These technologies are equipping building managers, owners and occupants to better manage, understand and improve their building's operations. 


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