Leveraging the Technology of High-Performance Buildings

The technology systems in new buildings can give facility managers valuable data on how their building is being used.

Safe, Secure and Resilient
Additionally, concerns about occupancy safety have elevated the importance of building security beyond the traditional concerns of potential fire, electrical, and physical hazards. Building owners today have to be prepared for times when the safety and wellbeing of the people and assets within a building are in danger even when the physical building itself is not. Intruders, active shooters, explosives, pandemics and cyber attacks are just some of the threats that a building owner may have to contend with in the 21st century.

The expectation for greater security and resilience is spurring new requirements, such as seismic-rated products, redundant systems, and waterproofing. Security planning now involves not just hardware (e.g., cameras, gates) but also design elements (e.g., site of mechanical equipment) and greater collaboration among architects, engineers, and, increasingly, security consultants.

The HPB Holistic Approach
High-performance buildings go far beyond the requirements of basic building codes and standards. HPB engineers consider building operations holistically – accounting for everything from energy and water consumption to lighting and sound levels – with the ultimate goal of providing sustainable design principles to ensure optimal performance over extended periods of time. They recognize the interconnected nature of the building materials and occupant well being.

The role of a security system is shifting from exclusively managing access to a building and its spaces, to an on-going role where the relationship with the building is more integrated, providing dynamic data to help the building evolve.Brian DiBella

Building managers need to know how frequently spaces are occupied, allowing them to adjust the layout of space and the use of lighting and climate control based on these usage trends. The types of monitoring, both video surveillance and otherwise, that security professionals use to manage access within buildings can be very valuable. This data can provide building managers with a better understanding of how spaces are being used and increase the overall efficiency.

Security professionals can also provide a real foundation of on-going data as the use of space evolves. Do occupants prefer a huddle space, or formal meeting room? How often are private offices occupied verses common areas? This type of data allows building managers to adapt their space to actual occupant use, allowing the building to be more efficient in terms of footprint and to make sure the right resources and tools are available for the occupants.

The role of a security system is shifting from exclusively managing access to a building and its spaces, to an on-going role where the relationship with the building is more integrated, providing dynamic data to help the building evolve. The ability to provide tools for tracking the usage and traffic within a space, as well as capturing and reporting on how occupants use certain rooms and resources is a great opportunity for security professionals.

Managers need reliable ways to capture, analyze and report on the usage. With this in mind, security systems can be viewed as the internal nervous system of a building, becoming the eyes and ears of the facility.

At the end of the day, the building is only part of the equation. The reason we design and manage high-performance buildings is to give people a place to do great work. The building needs to support them safely, efficiently, sustainably, but ultimately it’s the performance of the people in the building that contribute to the success of the occupying businesses. We need to find the balance of human performance and building performance.

Brian DiBella is President of the Electrical Wiring Systems (EWS) division of Legrand, North America.  He is responsible for all P&L activities and oversees the executive leadership team for the adorne, Pass & Seymour, Wiremold, Cablofil, On-Q and Luxul brands.

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