Ideas and Concepts for Smart Buildings: A Guide to Sustainable Design

January 31, 2022

Ideas and Concepts for Smart Buildings

The construction of smart buildings is on the rise. Elements of smart technology are steadily being built under the roofs of our frequent establishments. Think office refurbishments, shopping malls, university campuses, and even hospitals. Smart buildings are one of the many ways in which society continues to leverage the advances of modern technology to provide us with both efficient and sustainable solutions.

Why make buildings smart?

  Smart buildings are responsive to our needs. Indeed, a key characteristic of smart buildings is that they are human-centered. They’re designed to put the human experience first: providing solutions to everyday inconveniences, responding to queries, or even implementing nice-to-have features to make our experience a little bit more enjoyable. Smart buildings work by collecting and aggregating data from sensors, cameras and other sources of information technology. This data can be used in various ways: to optimize energy levels, reduce electricity, control the temperature and even purify air. The objective is to become more sustainable and reduce our CO2 footprint.

Smart technology for shopping

  Take for example the latest integration from Amazon, ‘Just Walk Out Shopping’, which is an automated shopping experience. It relinquishes the need to wait in long queues at the check-out, removes the need to handle cash, and if you’ve forgotten your PIN number, it’s no problem. Simply enter the store, pick up what you want and then just walk out. Cameras throughout will track your every movement and automatically calculate the price of everything in your trolley. Payment is charged directly to your Amazon account.   It’s an entirely contactless experience built for our ease, convenience and the flexibilities required around our routines.

Smart and sustainable possibilities with Energy Floors

Let’s take this idea one step further and imagine that the entrance to that store is paved with kinetic energy floor tiles. When stepped on, these floors transfer energy that could help to power the freezers or lights in store. Or for example, whilst your car or bike is parked, it is being charged with renewable energy generated from the shopper’s footfall. Perhaps there are smart solar tiles outside the store informing you of the occupancy levels or temperature inside? It is these types of ideas and concepts that Energy Floors specialize in and aim to provide awareness about. We work with companies and governments to integrate our smart energy floors into smart buildings and smart cities, providing solutions to meet the needs of the people. Through our energy floors, the public can seamlessly contribute towards the energy transition.

Energy Floors case studies

We have two key case studies where our floors have been installed to meet both smart and sustainable needs:

Case study 1: Green Pea Mall

The Green Pea Mall in Turin, Italy is the world’s first sustainable shopping mall built from recyclable materials. Across all entrances to the Mall, we’ve installed our kinetic energy floors. By walking on the tiles, the weight of shoppers’ footsteps produces energy which can be used, for example, to charge your smart phone in the food court. The energy generated is also displayed so visitors can see the direct impact of their footsteps.

Case study 2: AFAS HQ Experience Center

The AFAS HQ Experience Center in The Netherlands offers software solutions to businesses and consumers. Their new headquarters is centered around sustainability. Our kinetic energy floors were installed with a custom design to capture footfall from staff, as well as the public. There is an energy meter visible where visitors can see the number of calories they have burned, how much energy their footsteps have generated, and how much has been converted into electricity. The Center also features energy-efficient LED lighting, solar control glazing and solar panel roofs.
Smart technology is becoming more ubiquitous, and it will soon become unimaginable to step under a roof that does not have at least some sort of smart functionality. If you’re planning, or currently implementing a new building project, what would make it more sustainable? How could it be made smarter? The solution may be right under your feet…

Get to know more about smart buildings and smart cities.