The Internet of Things (IoT) is constantly making our devices more intelligent and more connected. But it doesn’t stop at devices: Smart buildings are becoming a hotbed of innovation where we can see the impact worldwide.

Smart buildings are characterized by the use of wholly integrated systems that share vital information. They use IoT sensors and building automation to control nearly everything: HVAC, lighting, shading, security–even user-centric functions like wayfinding and conference room scheduling.

These buildings control and assure efficiency, energy, comfort, access, and monitoring for the businesses that inhabit them.

Many offices have some level of building intelligence, but let’s look at 7 of the most intelligent (and inspirational) buildings in the world.

The Edge Building (Amsterdam, Holland)The Edge Building, Inside- Holland

The Edge is considered the greenest, most intelligent building in the world, according to British rating agency BREEAM.

Should you be lucky enough to work in this building: it knows where you live; it knows what kind of car you drive and will direct you to the most convenient parking spot; it knows your schedule for the day and even how much sugar you like in your coffee.

No one has an assigned permanent desk space at The Edge. Workspaces are based on your schedule for the day and are assigned as you need them: sitting desk, standing desk, work booth, meeting room, balcony seat, or “concentration room.” And when you arrive at these various stations during your day, the building knows your preferences for light and temperature.

One of the stand-out features of this green building is super-efficient LED panels that require such a tiny trickle of electricity that they can be powered using the same cables that carry data for the Internet.

Capital Tower (Singapore, Indonesia)

This 52-story office building won the Green Mark Platinum Award for its construction design, and for its energy and water efficiency.

Capital Tower, Inside - Singapore

The Capital Tower has many smart energy systems which include: an air-conditioning energy recovery wheel system which allows cool air to be retrieved; motion detectors in the lobby and all bathrooms to conserve energy; double-glazed windows that reduce heat penetration and reduce energy consumption; the use of condensation from the air-handling unit to reduce water usage, and constant monitoring for carbon monoxide to ensure optimal air quality.

This building also features the following amenities: a panoramic view of the Singapore skyline, a fitness center, pool, childcare, and several dining options.

Glumac (Shanghai, China)

This 6,000 square foot office building is considered one of the most sustainable buildings on the continent.

Glumac, Inside - Shanghai

The Glumac is the first LEED Platinum v4 facility in East Asia and was the first in Asia to pursue the Living Building Certification for Net-Zero Energy, Water and Carbon.

This building boasts the best air quality in Shanghai. It features an indoor air monitoring system that allows employees to see the toxicity of the indoor air on their cell phones (based on monitored oxygen levels, volatile organic compound {VOC} levels, humidity, and particulate matter measurements).

The Glumac has 5 air purification systems and a planted green wall to filter out the often serious pollution outside the building.

DPR Construction (San Francisco, California)

At 24,010 square feet, this tenant-improved regional office promotes DPR’s two most fundamental beliefs: (1) respect for the individual and (2) the belief that the world can be changed.

Among its many green features, you will find:

DRP Construction, Inside - California

  • First certified Net-Zero Building (NZEB) in San Francisco
  • Submitted for LEED Platinum Certification
  • Tricked out photovoltaic (PV) panels
  • Rooftop solar thermal water heating system
  • Electrochromic windows
  • 8 solar-powered, automated skylights over an atrium
  • Ultra-energy efficient ceiling fans
  • 3 living walls and a living wine bar
  • Use of reclaimed redwood and Douglas fir
  • Ultra-low flow and flush plumbing fixtures
  • And more . . .

Hindmarsh Shire Council Corporate Centre (Melbourne, Australia)

The Hindmarsh Shire’s design goals were energy efficiency and an enhanced working environment for employees.

Hindmarsh Shire Council, Inside - Australia

Melbourne is a an area of extreme temperature conditions. To take advantage of this, the building has a series of underground thermal chambers and a ventilation system under the flooring to draw in fresh air from the exterior. The earth naturally cools and warms the air and then redistributes it back through the building interior.

LED lighting systems reduce energy consumption, and rooftop solar panels harvest energy from the sun. Vertical green walls enhance the indoor air quality.

Duke Energy Center (Charlotte, North Carolina)

This is a 51-floor skyscraper owned by Wells Fargo and boasts the highest green certification: LEED Platinum.

Duke Energy Center - North Carolina

This building is able to reuse approximately 10 million gallons of water each year–harvested from groundwater, rainwater and HVAC condensation. This reused water constitutes about 80 percent of the tower’s water needs and 100% of its irrigation needs.

This smart building features:

  • A roof garden which reduces storm water run-off and uses the plants to capture excess heat
  • Daylight harvesting blinds that move with the angle of the sun
  • 450,000 LED lights that illuminate the building at night

The Crystal Building (London, England)

The Crystal Building is the largest permanent exhibit site in the world that’s dedicated to the study and creation of sustainable cities and is one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

The Crystal Building, Inside - England

  • Its annual heating bill is zero.
  • It emits 70 percent less carbon dioxide.
  • 100 percent of the water in its toilets is recycled.
  • It spends 46 percent less on energy than any other building of its size.
  • It generates its own energy with the use of solar panels and ground heat pumps.
  • It collects rainwater to maintain its bathrooms and irrigation system.

Smart Buildings Build a Better Future

As IoT sensors and connected devices become more prevalent, smart buildings will become more abundant. There are certainly many important economic and social reasons to make smart technology in the workplace our ultimate goal.

In the future, we may be able to arrive at work, check into our workspace and find that our desk automatically adjusts to our height, our light is just the way we want it, and our work area is at the exact temperature we prefer.

The future is bright indeed!