Technological applications to residential building life are becoming more prevalent, and in some cases, they’ve even become more affordable than in the past. An “intelligent” building is able to monitor its environmental, mechanical, and lighting (among other) systems, through a computerized network of electronic devices. Maintenance, communications, security, and other residential building functions are now being handled by these new systems, whose upgraded operations are helping building personnel do their jobs more effectively.
State-of-the-art gadgets do everything from moderating the building’s heating/air conditioning systems to managing all of the window blinds of a unit to provide optimal light. Technological improvements also are lessening the energy use of buildings, by running systems more efficiently and more cheaply. Some of these tools don’t require large-scale renovations. Wireless technology is increasingly being used to upgrade buildings.
Some of these technologies will make residents more comfortable, says Steve Kuehn, a spokesman for Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. in Buffalo Grove, Ill. “Wireless thermostats can go into a room that’s usually cool, and residents can adjust the thermostats,” he says.
New Systems Provide Savings
Residents can begin to learn about building technology by attending trade shows, or by reading magazines and other industry-related publications. In addition, they can consult with groups such as the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA), the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), or the National Apartment Association (NAA), all of which have New York chapters. The Internet should be an integral part of any search for info on building innovations, and a resident can begin by doing a search on building management software.
AutomatedBuildings.com is a good source for information on the operation of large office buildings and hospitals, but there is some crossover in the technology. Ken Sinclair is editor/owner of AutomatedBuildings.com, a 10-year-old web publication located in Vancouver Island, Canada. Sinclair says he’s seen the movement of many building functions to online operations, making what were once personnel-intensive tasks the province of Internet-based help. “We’ve been tracking the movement of whole functions to web-based businesses,” Sinclair says.