What is “perfect” in regard with a building? Well, the measured aspects are the automation, inclusion of digital technologies for energy consumption control and monitoring, low or zero gas emissions, and of course, indoor comfort conditions both for living and working. Your building will be perfect when efficiency and comfort are totally balanced. The goal is live in a living building, that is, try not only to maximize energy efficiency through reduction of energy loss and use of renewables, but also to create and keep environmental conditions inside the building which includes comfort and safety for the people who occupy it. That is why architects and engineers try to apply a holistic design approach for new constructions.
Siemens Building Technologies has recently started to focus on this combined target. The company remarks that it is not clear yet how to use digitalization and data to provide more comfort for the tenants of the building. But what is clear is that this aspect is as important as energy efficiency for which the picture is much more clear, since all relevant information and analysis have been carried out for many years already, so we can see now a real energy performance and what must be improved. Unsatisfied users, according to Mitterer C. et al. (2012), intervene in multiple systems which may cause waste of energy and sometimes even damage to building envelope components. Satisfied users, however, not only leave the systems work the way they are programmed, but also increase their effectiveness by working or recreation.
The challenging proposal is to integrate all the necessary services and functions of the building into a single management platform applying the Internet of Things both for efficiency and comfort. Sensors will help to determine non-occupied spaces to improve power consumption. Another interesting feature is that this centralized system can “cooperate” with other systems such as HVAC and ventilation to reach higher levels of indoor environment and energy efficiency.
Perfect buildings are truly high-performance because they are energy efficient and occupant friendly and they are possible when these two important features are treated together since they are very much related.