Electrical Engineering Solutions MD Bradley Hemphill on Wednesday emphasised the importance of an intelligent information communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to achieve a greener, more efficient building.
Presenting at the 2009 Intelligent Building Automation symposium in Midrand, he emphasised that ICT did not provide green points directly, but that it was an enabler. For example, it enabled a building's intelligent lighting, monitoring and verification and data storage.
Hemphill said that ICT company Cisco conducted a study and indicated that the company's products could enable 42 points towards the LEED and BREEAM green building rating systems.
Green building rating tools did not give a building developer the indication on how to achieve points, but just stipulated minimum requirements - ICT could be employed in various ways to reach these requirements.
He added green building ratings encouraged the use of a "whole building intelligent infrastructure approach".
Hemphill highlighted that green technology maximises the triple bottom line of people, planet and profits, but ensuring a holistic intelligent infrastructure would require sufficient upfront planning, as well as ensuring that all players work together.
"A building design team needs to interact to: set energy performance goals; manage the buildings systems interdependencies; produce a more efficient, cost effective, smart building," he said.
Dimension Data Wolf Stinnes said that green buildings were immersed in information technology, for example indoor environmental quality control, which was a requirement of green building, and this required carbon-dioxide monitoring, which was automated, this then works with fresh air supply, which works with operable windows for natural ventilation.
Stinnes further highlighted the idea of converged real estate. Where communications technology included Internet, wireless capability, information systems, conferencing and signage, while building structural technology included access, fire control, surveillance, energy, heating ventilation and cooling, lifts, and lighting. He said that increasingly more of these were being hosted on a single converged Internet protcol platform.
Emphasising the other side of the coin, Cybernetics director and North West University Professor LJ Grobler emphasised technology alone would not make a building run efficiently, and in fact it could actually do harm if people were not trained on how to use the technology.
People and technology together can save up to 30% in energy consumption, because importantly, it was the end users, operators, and customers that cause energy use, wastage and saving, and energy manager can facilitate implementation of more efficient technologies.
He stressed that building owners and operators must make energy use more visible to everyone in an easily understood format. "This makes everyone responsible for saving energy. It empowers everyone to take action, Grobler added, and stressed the important of behavioural change in achieving energy efficiency.