We have all heard about home automation and the benefits derived from having technology integrated into the housing in order to make easier energy management services, security and wellness.

These pros can be applied not only to households, but also to buildings, which can make use of them through building automation, a concept that means built-in automation in buildings, mainly those not destined to housing such as shopping centres, hospitals, schools, public buildings, etc., equipped with high technology.

These smart buildings are able to control from heating and air conditioning to hot water, ventilation or lighting, which leads to improve energy and functional efficiency. Besides, as the whole building is automated, programs can be adapted to the users’ needs. Just to give an example, the usage time of an automatic door at the emergency entrance in a hospital will not be the same as the one at the access of the cafeteria in the same centre, for which reason, by means of building automation, we can adequately regulate their opening time planning one by one.

The origin of building automation has to be found in the development of new technologies and how their application has been studied in order to enhance people’s quality of life. This has come together with the issues related to energy savings and the importance they have acquired. It has been proven that the use of building automation and control systems incurs the improvement of energy efficiency, since it implies a broader knowledge of consumption and that helps optimizing the functioning of energy systems.

However, it not only helps enhancing energy efficiency. Other aspects of buildings can be of benefit by incorporating building automation. For instance, security personnel, for whom technology becomes an ally to carry out their tasks in a simpler way. Or maintenance personnel as well, who can anticipate events and prevent possible defects thanks to the information obtained by applying new technologies.

It must be added that a smart building enables monitoring the functioning of all elements composing it, such as lifts, accesses, fire alarm systems, etc., whereby any abnormality can be quickly detected and solved before something more serious may happen.

Everything is designed to make work environment more productive, efficient and enhancing comfort for those present, promoting the office’s humanisation and expanding the building life cycle thanks to problem prevention. Moreover, these buildings usually incorporate a functional design, with modular facilities, and healthier as well, since their concern about energy consumption makes them bet for example on windows to let light come in, thus reducing electricity or heating expenses.

Another characteristic attached to a smart building is its environmental concern, since apart from energy savings we have to consider as well systems like rainwater traps  for sanitary use, waste recycling and filtration programs, use of healthy materials for the environment and installation of gardens in both façades and outdoor terraces.

Building automation is not science fiction. It is a reality that is being applied successfully upon many buildings, such us the Pixel Building in Melbourne, where a rainwater trap system is installed on its green roof, as well as wind turbines and solar panels, and it is possible to regulate natural light by means of automated shutters, thus saving artificial light energy.

Without a doubt whatsoever, the future is automated.