Smart Building Innovations from Around the World

Depositphotos_53843519_m-2015A smart building is one that uses technology to optimize operation, increase efficiency, and save money. This connected ecosystem creates great benefits at the lowest cost and environmental impact over the building lifecycle. Smart buildings:

– Operate efficiently and effectively

– Help companies reach sustainability goals

– Save operating expenses

– Are environmentally-friendly, healthy for occupants, and advantageous for business

A report by IDC Energy Insights, Business Strategy: Global Smart Building Technology Spending 2015–2019 Forecast, forecasts smart building technology spending to grow from $6.3 billion in 2014 to $17.4 billion in 2019, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.6%. The most aggressive adoption will be in Asia/Pacific, North America, and Western Europe.


The MIT Energy Initiative tells us that buildings consume 70 percent of the electricity in the United States. When it comes to increasing energy efficiency, wasting less, and optimizing consumption, there are very cool innovations on the smart building scene that you should know about:

France: Smart windows


Saint-Gobain (@saintgobain), the world leader in sustainable habitat, is a French multinational corporation, which owns a subsidiary that develops smart glass that can be tinted electronically.

Installing this dynamic glass in windows, skylights, or storefronts enables the building manager to tint or clear the glass on the fly to optimize the use of natural daylight.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), with these windows, a building’s need for air condition and heating equipment is reduced by 25%, enabling them to purchase smaller systems. Also, the overall energy loads can also be reduced by 20% for cooling systems and 60% for lighting systems.

UK: Efficient Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems

Enviroglow (@EnviroglowLtd), based in Padiham, UK, offers Solarcool, the world’s most efficient air condition and refrigeration systems, which promise to reduce energy consumption by up to 60% on most types of commercial refrigeration and HVAC.

Brilliantly powered by the sun, this system’s compressor works less as it gets hotter, which saves energy and reduces Co2 emissions.

Germany: LiFi

We cannot image a world without WiFi, but smart building may get a new “norm.” German Professor Harald Haas has introduced a light-centric wireless communications technology. LiFi uses visible light (the kind emitted by an LED bulb) rather than radio frequencies (as required by traditional WiFi) to transmit wireless data.

By flickering the light from a single LED, a change too quick for the human eye to detect, Haas can transmit far more data than a cellular tower — and do it in a way that’s more efficient, secure and widespread.

Sweden: Energy Efficient Showers


Orbital Systems (@orbital_systems) has developed a disruptive water recycling technology, which saves over 90% of the water and 80% of the energy, while at the same time increasing comfort and hygiene. Developed with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, with inspiration from the designs used in space missions, their system purifies used shower water and recycles it. Because it does not have to be reheated much, it saves both water and power. An iPhone of Android app monitors the water and power savings. For commercial applications, Orbital Systems expects ROI within 3 years.

USA: Device-Level Monitoring for Facility-Level Optimizations


Panoramic Power’s innovative device level energy management solution provides a way for Facility Managers to get granular visibility into all of the energy consuming devices within their operation. The solution combines wireless, self powered sensor technology with an analytics platform. By aggregating the data collected from all of the monitored devices, the intelligence engine provides real-time efficiency alerts for businesses across all industry segments. These insights enable businesses to increase energy efficiency, reduce operational costs, prevent device failure, and become sustainable and socially responsible.

The world connects

Our always-connected world has become a global village. Smart windows developed by a French company can improve energy efficiency in the UK. British efficient air conditions can cool companies in New York. And device-level monitoring solution can track all of these new devices and continually optimize them. The Internet of Things enables our buildings to be smart and our combined commitment to efficiency and sustainability enables us all to synergize all of these innovations to create building that are smart, connected, and efficient.

Find out more about device level energy data through our joint webinar with Triple Pundit, Driving Business Results with Real-Time Energy Data