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Buildings that are a Flexible Friend

18 December 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

The need to improve the productivity and wellbeing of buildings has led BSRIA to launch a White Paper on future building trends.

 The White Paper entitled Future Building Trends – Impacts – Solutions, specifically asks what industry professionals what they think are the biggest, most relevant changes in buildings now and over the next 10 years as well as what will be the impact on our industry and what products and services will be required in the future?

  • BSRIA concedes that although there were a small number of participants from Europe and Asia, it meant the majority were from North American organisations, so it could be assumed that the findings presented in the next chapter, have a North American slant or bias.

The paper asks:

  • How buildings can improve productivity and wellbeing, touching on all aspects of building design, construction, use, and maintenance.

  • What is the relationship of buildings with their immediate environment as well as their connection to the wider world.

  • The changing landscape around the design and use of buildings, their evolution.

How the HVAC and building controls industry should be shaped in future in order to best respond to client.

Written by Jeremy Towler, Senior Manager, Energy & Smart Technologies, BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence, the paper was developed for BSRIA’s Diamond Group Forum NAM 1/2015 in a parallel to the AHR Expo in Chicago in January 2015. BSRIA’s Diamond Group consists of a BSRIA network of senior executives..

One obvious question asked is what will be the biggest, most relevant changes in buildings now and over the next 10 years?

In relation to drivers and trends, green construction and sustainability of construction will increasingly affect the planning and design of buildings within the next few years. While green design will be easiest to implement for new construction, it is the retrofit and refurbishment of 4.6 million existing buildings that represents the biggest challenge, most pressing need and the biggest market potential.

The advance of the Internet of Things (IoT) is a major trend in building management. A growing abundance of data will lead to new services and solutions. However, there is a risk that the speed of change may create uncertainty – which can lead to hesitation and false starts.


Flexible working

There is the increasing trend towards home working which will cause a reduction in the demand for commercial building space. More remote working and desk sharing to accommodate the way people will work in the future will result in the need for more flexible work space and an increase in the occupied density of commercial buildings.

Regarding new technologies – there will be increased uptake of building data capture, energy data analytics and an increasing proportion of applications going to the Cloud. The trend towards equipment suppliers offering smart products is expected to increase rapidly with eventually most products connected to, or residing in, the Cloud but it may be akin to a ‘Betamax v VHS war between suppliers, software houses – with different systems and options – until winners emerge and the market eventually settles down.

These are just some of the subjects touched upon by the BSRIA White Paper but with the focus on how buildings need to be looked at as meeting people’s requirements and not the other way round. “Buildings that adapt to people (rather than the other way around) will be a major evolution and will lead to more productive environments, a higher level of satisfaction and comfort for occupants and the ability, for example, to avoid conditioning unoccupied spaces,” explained Julia Evans, CEO, BSRIA. “With increasingly complex buildings and the use of more technology to run them more efficiently, the whole service and maintenance of buildings could change and a new type of company evolve.”

Picture: Julia Evans, CEO, BSRIA – “Buildings that adapt to people (rather than the other way around) will be a major 

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 18 December 2015


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