Tom Marseille, managing director of the U.S. buildings group in Seattle and director of sustainability, addressed the challenge of balancing smart building technology with the people who use the building in an article for the U.S. Green Building Council website earlier this month, “Occupant-aware Buildings or Building-aware Occupants?”
“More than ever, occupants and tenants are being asked to play a bigger role in achieving high-performance outcomes for their buildings by reducing their own personal consumption, making informed choices that lower energy and water use,” Marseille wrote. “Customizing building information, and making it accessible via individual workstations or smartphones, is a reality today. But it remains to be seen whether occupant interest and active engagement can be sustained in the long term.”
The building technology systems group at WSP USA provides clients with opportunities to integrate smart technology design into their projects, including telecommunications, audio visual, security and network systems. But once systems are installed, it’s up to the owners and occupants to effectively integrate that technology into their lives.
“Occupants and building operators can make or break whether a building operates at peak performance or not,” Marseille said. “The goal is for smart building technology to make things better – to be more energy efficient, more comfortable, to use space more efficiently, or to provide more convenient access to resources or services – and to do it in a way that doesn’t add additional burden in terms of things occupants and owners need to understand, interface with, or maintain. The more seamless the system, the more likely it will be successful.”