Smart Building Technologies in a Post-COVID World

June 2021

Smart building technologies, while generally referring to major infrastructure and systems, are equally applicable to technologies we take for granted yet necessary for improving daily high-rise living and management.

Board and Annual General Meetings

Meetings are now conducted over video conference services such as Zoom.  It no longer becomes necessary for meeting attendees, which may include a minute taker, condominium manager, lawyer or engineer, to travel thus reducing attendance fees.

Security and Amenity Access

Automated security services control building and amenity access.  They can restrict access to amenities reserved through building management systems such as those offered by BuildingLink to enforce physical distancing and access restrictions.

Fob access systems can be programmed to allow residents access to an amenity only after it has been booked online.  Touch the fob to the sensor and the door unlocks ONLY if the holder is authorized by management for access.  This system can apply to any amenity where access requires a fob.

Security does not need to be present for monitoring.  Security cameras currently monitoring amenity spaces can be periodically viewed to ensure spaces are used appropriately.

Building Management

Service requests can be submitted electronically through building management systems and apps, issues addressed and residents updated, without face-to-face interaction.

Building Automation Systems

Building automation systems manage heating, cooling, air ventilation and energy use to make homes more comfortable at lower cost while eliminating energy waste.  An unintended benefit of these systems is reduction of virus transmission risk.

Alone, building automation systems can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 percent through better management of a building’s temperature, by lighting rooms only when in use, monitoring of energy consumption and better management of high energy use equipment such as heat pumps and cooling tower fans.

In-Suite Metering

In-suite metering incentivizes residents to conserve electricity to reduce their costs.  When electricity consumption in each unit is individually measured and billed, electricity usage can drop by up to 30 percent.

Combined with a building automation system, energy use can be reduced by up to 45 percent.

Accounting and Payment Systems

Automated accounting systems can pay bills and receive payment through electronic systems that include credit or debit card and etransfer as alternatives to cheque writing.  These systems offer faster processing and less direct interaction while reducing risk of virus transmission.  Without all this paper for reviewing and approving invoices and issuing payment by cheque, administrative costs can be reduced.  More sophisticated accounting systems will route invoices to a designated individual for approval prior to automatically issuing payment.