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Blog Smart Building: smart automation for commercial buildings

Smart Building: smart automation for commercial buildings

7. March 2023
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Aussenansicht des DEOS Unternehmen Rheine

Smart buildings as part of a sustainable future

More and more devices are becoming smarter and making our everyday lives easier. Buildings in which we spend our lives and working hours also have the potential to become more digital and intelligent. Smart building is the keyword here. This refers to digital and networked buildings – new construction as well as existing properties – that are operated in an energy-efficient manner and significantly increase comfort for their users.

Energy efficiency is more relevant than ever in today’s world – for example, buildings in the EU account for up to 40 percent of energy consumption and are responsible for about 36 percent of CO2 emissions. By 2050, however, the German government wants to reduce the energy demand of the building stock by 80 percent. Therefore, smart buildings are essential to achieving these goals and are the future in energy-efficient buildings.

What is a smart building?

We use the term smart building to describe the intelligent digital system linking and automation of processes in buildings such as office buildings, hotels, schools, airports or in retail. The goal of smart buildings is to maximize the networking of smart systems and IoT products for the highest possible energy efficiency. This increases comfort in the building and at the same time reduces energy consumption. Because energy is used according to demand and controlled intelligently. For example, a meeting room is only heated if appointments are also scheduled in the room during the day.

Due to increasing networking, operational safety as well as cyber security are also in focus for smart buildings.

What are IoT products?

“IoT” stands for “Internet of Things” and refers to physical objects with sensors that are connected to the Internet and thus transmit data online. Typical IoT products in buildings are, for example, presence detectors, energy meters or temperature sensors. They record real conditions in the building or room and make this information available to the building automation system for optimized control.

What is the difference between smart building and smart home?

When people talk about smart building, automated processes and intelligent IoT devices, they often associate the concept of the “smart home” with them. Both concepts pursue the same goal: intelligent networking of systems to increase energy efficiency and comfort. However, digital networking extends further in the case of the smart building than it does in the case of the smart home.

Smart Home

The term smart home refers to private households where digital networking of intelligent devices takes place. The aim is to create more comfort for private households through automatic heating control, intelligent lighting or security and control systems. Smart home components are interchangeable at will and include voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant and co. In the home sector, it is very typical that mostly only lighting and multimedia are controlled digitally.

A property is only considered a smart building when the focus is on energy-efficient management based on holistic, digital solutions.

Smart Building

Accordingly, the “smart building” concept is more complex than the smart home, as entire functional buildings are digitized and many more systems are interconnected. A smart building is one of the cornerstones of a true smart city, where everything is connected.

How do smart buildings work?

Smart buildings use a centrally controlled building automation system. In order to link the individual technical trades of a building with each other, a data basis and maximum transparency are necessary. The data basis is collected with smart sensors.

In this way, we connect different areas of functional buildings:

  • Heating
  • Ventilation
  • Air conditioning
  • Lighting
  • Shading
  • Fire protection
  • Security
  • Room occupancy

The collected data gives you transparency about all processes in the building. A platform or system provides you with a clear presentation of the data and processes it further to derive effective solutions. Based on the multitude of information, energy consumption can be reduced and the maintenance of the building can be optimized.

Intelligent sensors and actuators provide information about current usage, states of plant components or environmental conditions. Automation of processes enables energy-efficient building operation.


An office room is monitored by means of a multisensor that outputs information about the presence of people, room temperature, humidity and CO2 content. The temperature of the room is regulated to the comfort temperature for the usual working hours. If the employee now works from home on a mobile basis for a day, the presence detector detects this, the information is processed in the system and the actuator automatically reduces the heating process.

Ergo: With a Smart Building you save costs and make your building operation sustainable!

Advantages: Why is smart building automation worth it?

It is no longer possible to imagine existing buildings without digitization. There is a good reason for this – everyone benefits from smart buildings: owners, operators and also the building users.

  • Optimum room climate

  • Fast reporting and rectification of faults

  • Effective cleaning processes through Cleaning on Demand

  • Information on room occupancy enables room booking concept

  • Maintenance work can be planned in advance (predictive maintenance)

  • High energy efficiency

  • Tips for the successful planning of a smart building

    • Determine what the stakeholders’ requirements are for the project.
    • Also address the goals you want to achieve with the retrofit – for example, reducing operating costs by twenty percent by next year.
    • Next, it is important to be prepared for all government regulations. In order to promote sustainability in buildings, the Building Energy Law (GEG) was introduced. Indeed, the German government wants to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by eighty percent by 2050.
    • Consider the point of safety already during the planning. Technical networking, automation and digital control lead to a higher risk of cyber attacks.
    • Thinking about tomorrow today: A holistic building solution plays an important role in the digitization of buildings – so don’t rely on a multitude of isolated solutions.

    Post-digitization: Retrofitting existing buildings to become smart buildings?

    Many of the newly built office complexes are already smart buildings. But existing buildings can also be transformed into smart buildings.

    The challenge: The building is already standing and the necessary cabling for networking and digitization is very complex. In addition, the available space, e.g. in control cabinets, is also limited, making the retrofitting of additional hardware a challenge.

    The solution: wireless sensors and actuators!

    With our LoRaWAN products, a simple and economical post-digitization of your existing properties is possible. Installing LoRaWAN sensor technology and special radiator thermostats for functional buildings can reduce your energy costs by up to 40 percent. The retrofit also pays for itself after only 1 to 5 years.

    Central platform: How are smart buildings managed and controlled?

    We provide you with a platform to easily track the monitoring and reporting of your property. The DEOS pro.Building Suite controls, processes and visualizes your building data. In this way, every building, whether new or existing, becomes a modern and energy-efficient smart building. Additionally, mWith the OPENweb building management system, various systems such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and security technology can be integrated into a single system and controlled efficiently. This enables centralized and comprehensive control over the entire building, resulting in optimal energy efficiency, increased comfort, and enhanced security.

    Digital twin

    The digital twin refers to a digital copy of tangible or intangible objects, processes or services. Digital twins collect and visualize data using IoT products on a cloud platform. The collected data is presented in a vendor-neutral and uniform manner, enabling maximum data transparency. Digital twins thus provide analysis potential for increasing efficiency or tapping into additional services.

    Challenges for Building Automation

    While the benefits for smart building connectivity are obvious, smart buildings also bring some challenges:

    • Costs: The acquisition of the sensors is associated with a high cost.
    • Post-digitization in existing buildings: Pulling cables after the fact is difficult, and there is also limited space available for technology. Wireless sensors and actuators are the right solution for this.
    • Security: In addition, the technical networking of commercial building automation provides a larger attack surface for hackers. Thus, complex and well thought-out safety requirements are needed. Hardware-based security solutions range from simple authentication chips to comprehensive IT security standards (network separation, regular updates, …).
    • Complex infrastructure: Getting the various solution providers to communicate with each other in a central smart building is difficult. Connecting existing equipment and new systems often presents challenges. Keyword island systems and system integration.
    • Data management: Data collection, storage and processing should be described in a concept. In addition, the systems should have an open interface to other systems such as via an API.
    • Data protection: Data protection regulations must be complied with when processing building data in order to protect the privacy of users.

    The future of smart buildings as part of the energy transition

    Smart buildings are a building block of the energy transition. In the EU alone, buildings are responsible for 40 percent of energy consumption and 36 percent of CO2 emissions. For this reason, the German government wants to reduce the energy demand of the building stock by 80 percent by 2050.
    Smart buildings, which generate their own electricity with combined heat and power plants or photovoltaic systems and at the same time are a networked component of intelligent power grids (smart grids), can help here.

    Electricity: Smart building systems can analyze power consumption patterns and avoid wasting electricity by automatically turning lighting, air conditioning, heating and other electrical appliances on and off or regulating them accordingly.

    Thermal energy: Smart building systems can optimize the heating and cooling of the building by regulating the temperature based on user needs and the weather forecast. They can also monitor and improve the insulation of the building.

    Water: Smart building systems can monitor and reduce water consumption by detecting leaks and waste and automatically turning off faucets and showers.

    Renewable energy sources: Smart building systems can also facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power into the building energy system, reducing energy consumption from fossil fuels.

    Smart buildings: the first step towards a smart city

    The latest technologies are an integral part of many areas. This is also the case in the public sector. Intelligent cities – so-called smart cities – have the opportunity to support authorities in the operation of public services. This in turn increases efficiency, opens up innovative and exciting options for businesses, and improves the lives of citizens. Smart buildings are part of smart cities. However, these only work as well as any object within them. As you can see: Investing in smart buildings pays off!

    Thinking about tomorrow today with DEOS AG

    With the help of smart technologies, you can use the full potential of your building. Reduce your building’s environmental footprint now and make it fit for the future. With the innovations of DEOS AG you actively contribute to your sustainable business success!

    Interest aroused?

    Then contact us! We’re glad to help.