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Investing — and building — smarter

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Building Tech

Investing — and building — smarter

Edge Technologies has entered into alliances with the International WELL Building Institute and wellness-focused real estate developer Delos.


By C.C. Sullivan and Alex Abarbanel-Grossman, Contributing Editors | February 18, 2019

Courtesy HKS

Project teams are finding innovative ways to implement smart building technology. New partnerships are one avenue, says Matthew Toner, CBRE’s Managing Director of Smart Buildings and IoT, describing CBRE’s acquisition of Johnson Controls’ Global Workplace Solutions unit. “We’re innovating in proprietary solutions when a client needs a certain product that is not available on the market,” he says.

Edge Technologies has entered into alliances with the International WELL Building Institute and wellness-focused real estate developer Delos. These collaborations, says Executive Managing Director Jan-Hein Lakeman, will help analyze data from its latest smart projects in new ways while giving those organizations access to important post-occupancy information at scale. Edge has identified 13 U.S. cities as targets for new development.

The first of those, designed in collaboration with Perkins+Will, repositions a suburban New Jersey office park into a “connected campus” and headquarters for consumer goods maker Unilever. The building’s 15,000 installed sensors measure temperature, illumination, carbon dioxide, and humidity—a suite of smart tech solutions credited with cutting energy bills by 50% since startup in 2018.

In Denver, WSP’s new innovation center employs digital twin modeling programs to monitor building performance live in the virtual world. The eventual goal: Adjustments made in the VR model will push back into the actual operational model. “This is a great benefit,” notes WSP SVP Herbert Els. “We are looking at continual commissioning and engagement with clients, long after occupancy.”

This idea of “living labs” has also taken hold at HKS Architects, where Tommy Zakrzewski, PhD, Director of Integrative Energy Engineering, uses similar digital twin-modeling concepts to understand how well the firm’s new Chicago office operates, a tool that HKS can apply to client projects.

“Tied to a LEED energy-compliance model, we’ve been able to monitor trends and correct building or workspace performance through a front-end dashboard,” says Zakrzewski. “This kind of system is key for observing positive and negative facility performance and exploring new ideas.”

Working with Clark Construction and Safdie Rabines Architects, HKS is employing these ideas to create a new connected community at the University of California, San Diego’s new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood (see HKS rendering above). A 10-acre interdisciplinary environment blending academic, residential, commercial, and cultural programming, the project seeks to optimize the performance of six different buildings, showcasing “how architecture, engineering, and sustainability come together in a holistic way,” says Zakrzewski.

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