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Revolutionizing Energy Infrastructure: The Benefits of Smart Buildings on Aging Grid Systems

Updated: Jan 27

Decentralizing Critical Infrastructure and Value Adding Strategies for Smart Buildings

power distribtion system in desert
America's Legacy Energy Distribution Grid

Buildings and supporting infrastructure are the critical assets for all modern civilizations. They are the hubs of all human activity, decision making and the meeting of the minds.


Currently, Smart Buildings and Building Automation, including BACnet integration with Web3, energy metering, cryptographic communication protocols and AI are the standard for this new building type.


At the same time, with the integration of Smart Energy Systems, the need to adapt IT communication and energy distribution standards with Smart Buildings for secure and robust usage is critical for the survival of our cities in a growing multi-polar world.


Moreover, a bridge to merge technologies for ISO standard of Smart Buildings today will be based on IOT (Internet of Things), Web3, Tokenization, as well as other emerging technologies. A new value proposition for commercial real-estate will emerge based on a building’s ability to produce yield in a basket of commodities that can be tokenized in an economic model referred to as Value Integration.


The use case of Value Integration for Smart Buildings is to enable the decentralization of urban areas from centralized energy distribution hubs. In this scenario, Smart Buildings serve as both nodes for nearby traditional buildings and operate autonomously, functioning independently of energy grids.

solar panles on roof of house
Value Integration - Photovoltaics Supplemental Energy System

For Smart Homes, the Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery energy storage product manufactured by Tesla, Inc. Designed for residential use, it is utilized to store energy generated from renewable sources, such as solar panels, or from the grid during times when electricity is cheaper. Then, the stored energy can be used during periods of high demand, power outages, or when electricity costs are higher.


Tesla screen image of phone
Tesla - Power Wall App

Value integration serves as a mechanism for buildings to incorporate energy-generating technologies, enhancing their value by contributing surplus energy back into grids and thereby supporting the decentralization of power generation centers.


The term "added value" denotes the improvement or increase in the worth or appeal of a product or service due to a specific feature, attribute, or process. It represents the discrepancy between the final price a customer is willing to pay for a product or service and the cost of producing it.


Businesses frequently aim to create added value to differentiate their offerings in the market and attract customers. This goal can be accomplished through various methods, drawing from the added value model, which includes aspects such as providing:


  1. Quality Improvement: Enhancing the quality of a product or service can add value. This may involve using better materials, improving manufacturing processes, or providing superior service.

  2. Innovation: Introducing new and innovative features or technologies can set a product or service apart from competitors and add significant value.

  3. Customization: Allowing customers to customize products or services according to their preferences can create a unique and personalized experience, thus increasing perceived value.

  4. Convenience: Making products or services more convenient for customers, such as offering fast delivery, easy access, or user-friendly interfaces, can contribute to added value.

  5. Sustainability: A growing number of consumers are placing importance on sustainability. Environmentally friendly or socially responsible products or services may have added value in the eyes of certain consumers.

  6. Cost Reduction: If a company can provide a product or service at a lower cost without sacrificing quality, it can create added value as well by offering competitive prices.

Comprehending and delivering added value is essential for businesses to sustain competitiveness and address the evolving demands and expectations of consumers. Achieving this necessitates a commitment to continuous improvement, innovation, and a profound comprehension of customer preferences.


In the context of buildings, Value Integration operates on a comparable model to value addition. However, it goes beyond by incorporating a technology stack of other systems into buildings, presenting a comprehensive end product from the conceptual phase.


Smart Buildings and Value Integration

Smart building - Supplemental power by wind energy
OpDes Architecture - Bird Feather (WM-II) Smart Building

In addition to the traditional, structural, mechanical, electrical engineering fields and architecture for the integration of technologies, Value Integration for Smart Buildings entails including several emerging disciplines of engineering, including:


  1. Energy Capture and Generating Systems

  2. BMS (Buildings Management Systems)

  3. Web3, Blockchain/Distributed Leger Technology (DLT)

  4. Robotics

  5. Machine Learning

  6. Artificial Technology

  7. Virtual Reality

  8. Food Production Systems (Consumables)

These technologies are capable of full integration into buildings; the key driver is that most architecture firms are slow to develop the process of integration. However, OpDes Architecture has been developing a process of design integration of these technologies for over a decade.


DLT will be a major driver for security and overall robustness of IT security and web-3 technologies. Companies such as Hedera are leading the way when it comes to developing such secured networks that are critical for decentralized systems for smart buildings.


Consumables, although one of the most critical items remains the less amount of technological development required and can be easily integrated into buildings.


Food Production Systems (Consumables)

Interior hydroponics bay
Food Production - Value Integration for Buildings

In Smart Buildings, a diverse array of vegetables and plants is employed to meet the nutritional needs of occupants and communities. Leveraging commercialized processes within a Closed-Loop System enables the generation of a substantial tonnage of vegetables by incorporating integrated micro-farms into Smart Buildings.


Furthermore, the use of these micro-farms offers the capability to augment and renew existing stocks through the establishment of localized plant-based systems. Sustaining these Food Production Systems requires minimal energy consumption and processing to maintain the optimal conditions for the growth and harvesting of vegetation.


Aeroponics

Aeroponics involves cultivating plants in an atmospheric setting that provides nutrients instead of using soil. Implementing such systems can lead to a water demand reduction of up to 98 percent. This crucial feature lessens the necessity for maintaining soil-based nutrients and components, which contribute additional weight and resources for processing.

Hydroponics

This method entails cultivating plants without soil, utilizing a nutrient-rich water solution to directly supply the required nutrients to the plant roots. The term "hydroponics" is derived from the Greek words "hydro" (water) and "ponos" (labor), capturing the concept of growing plants in water.


Hydroponics finds application in various settings, ranging from small-scale home systems to large-scale commercial operations. It is particularly popular in challenging agricultural environments, such as urban areas or regions with poor soil quality. Moreover, hydroponics aligns with sustainable farming practices, promoting efficient resource utilization and reducing environmental impact.


Smart Buildings and Value Integration

Smart building in city providing enegy
OpDes Architecture - Bird Feather (WM-II) Smart Building

Smart Buildings use advanced technology and integrated systems to enhance the efficiency, performance, and overall functionality. These technologies are designed to improve the management of resources, enhance occupant comfort, and optimize the building's operations. Here are some key aspects of smart buildings:


  1. Building Automation Systems (BAS): BAS is a central component of smart buildings. It involves the use of sensors, controllers, and communication networks to automate and control various building systems, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, security, and more. This automation helps optimize energy usage and operational efficiency.

  2. IoT (Internet of Things) Integration: Smart buildings leverage IoT devices to collect and exchange data between various systems. Sensors and actuators are known to embed in various parts of the building enable real-time monitoring and control. For example, smart thermostats, occupancy sensors, and smart lighting systems contribute to energy efficiency and occupant comfort.

  3. Energy Management: Smart buildings focus on energy conservation and sustainability. Specifically, they use data analytics and machine learning algorithms to analyze energy consumption patterns, identify inefficiencies, and implement energy-saving measures. This can include optimizing lighting schedules, HVAC systems, and incorporating renewable energy sources.

  4. Building Information Modeling (BIM): BIM is a digital representation of the building's physical and functional characteristics. It facilitates collaboration among architects, engineers, and construction professionals throughout the building's lifecycle. BIM can be integrated with smart technologies to improve design, construction, and maintenance processes.

  5. Occupant Comfort and Well-being: Smart buildings strive to elevate the experience of occupants by incorporating features such as adjustable color temperature in smart lighting, automated shading systems, and air quality monitoring. These elements collectively contribute to creating a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment.

  6. Security and Access Control: Smart buildings incorporate advanced security systems, including biometric access controls, surveillance cameras, and intrusion detection systems. These technologies enhance the safety of occupants and protect the building from potential threats.

  7. Remote Monitoring and Management: Building managers can remotely monitor and control various systems through centralized platforms. This enables proactive maintenance, quick response to issues, and efficient management of resources.

  8. Data Analytics and Predictive Maintenance: Smart buildings leverage data analytics to gain insights into building performance. Predictive maintenance algorithms can anticipate equipment failures, allowing for timely repairs and reducing downtime.

These technologies’ value integration in smart buildings is crafted not only to enhance operational efficiency, decentralization, and robustness but also to align with sustainability goals, achieve energy savings, and elevate end-user comfort. With ongoing technological advancements, smart buildings are poised to play a prominent role in both applying and uncovering new technologies for decades into the future.


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