The convergence of “intelligent” and “green” building in Asia | Johnson Controls | Sudhi Sinha

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The advancement of technology in construction and building development areas gives us a promising vision of convergence between “intelligence” and “green” building as a future. What was once considered sustainable is soon to be redefined with the ever-increasing importance of integrated design, management system, and optimized energy performance in a building. As much as the industry players across the globe are excited of this upcoming trend, hurdles remain for developing regions such as Asia to catch up. set up an exclusive interview with Sudhi Sinha, the Vice President – Product Development, Building Technology and Services at Johnson Controls who shares his perspective on the potential of Intelligent Green Building in  Asia. This dialogue also highlights the involvement of Internet of Things (IoT) as well as concerns regarding security threats and withstanding passive designs.


To what extent would the integration between “green” and “intelligent” building occur in the upcoming future?

The definition of what constitutes an “intelligent” building is still evolving. While there are established green building standards and certification systems such as LEED and Green Mark, there is no equivalent for intelligent buildings.

There is a wide spectrum of what can be considered an intelligent building. However, the general consensus is that intelligent buildings complement green buildings. I see intelligent buildings as necessarily green buildings, and more.

A fully converged intelligent building is a concept that views the entire building as one integrated ecosystem comprised of various systems and devices that work in tandem– usually through the convergence of building systems with business systems onto the open-protocol IT platform. The outcome is that the performance of buildings, businesses and occupants are enhanced – including in sustainability, productivity and energy efficiency.

At Johnson Controls, we think the future is not just intelligent and green buildings, but also intelligent communities. Imagine a community of intelligent buildings in a specific geographic region, or those belonging to a certain usage type, or those belonging to a certain size class, or any broader aggregation of these. The capabilities of fully converged smart buildings will enable buildings in the community to do many things including learning from each other about how to best operate and maintain; sharing knowledge on how to address recurring issues; and, self-regulating and optimizing the usage of utilities and resources like energy.


With the hype of Internet of Things (IoT) and its promising convergence with the concept of Intelligent Building, how far do you think Asia would catch up?

It is an exciting vision. Building automation and management is now being reshaped by the introduction of information technology and the power of data analytics. This, combined with a rich and diverse set of intelligent equipment, rapid strides in standard communication protocols and a demand for future proof infrastructure, has led to a rapid development cycle that promises to change the way buildings operate.

However, there are challenges in Asia and they vary from country to country. Lack of awareness, skills or capital would plague certain emerging economies. In more advanced markets, there are also issues pertaining to security and privacy; not forgetting other technical hurdles such as lack of normalized data and incompatible systems.

Nonetheless, governments and cities in Asia are increasingly seeing the value in intelligent building systems to help overcome urban sprawl, improve infrastructure and minimize the impact on resources and the environment.

In fact, in Singapore, we expect Smart Building adoption to take off within the next five years fueled by the government’s drive to develop Singapore into a ‘Smart City’. The city state is well positioned to make the transition with its excellent foundation and wide adoption of Green Buildings and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).


As the current advanced technologies enable the generation of building data and effective sharing throughout different devices/systems, how would the possible security threats/breaches be prevented?

Tight coordination and integration across building facilities and IT silos is important to help organizations avoid and plug loopholes. Besides thinking through the system design and implementation, behaviors and workflows of those who have administrative access to these systems also need to be reviewed and vulnerabilities addressed.

The advantage of having an integrated building and facility management system is that it provides a single point of accountability – allowing building owners and managers to monitor their devices from a single location. This also facilities better security measures both physically and in terms of IT.


Would the concept of “intelligence” in building always involve the implementation of advanced technologies? How would passive designs and other conventional methods remain to play role in smart building?

According to the definition by the IBI (The Intelligent Buildings Institute, US), an “intelligent building is one that provides a productive and cost-effective environment through optimization of its four basic components – structure, systems, services and management – and the interrelationships between them”.

The definition by EIBG (European Intelligent Building Group) further classifies an intelligent building as one that “incorporates the best available concepts, materials, systems and technologies integrating these to achieve a building which meets or exceeds the performance requirements of the building stakeholders”.

Based on these definitions, the use of advanced technologies is a key component and enabler for the improved performance of buildings. However, technology and systems are just one part of the larger building ecosystem. Buildings can be designed and built for high performance and energy efficiency, but such advanced technologies can be all for naught without proper management and maintenance over time.

Passive designs and other conventional methods certainly remain relevant to optimize building performance and energy efficiency.


Sudhi Sinha is one of the speakers at the International Green Building Conference 2014 in Singapore.


About Johnson Controls :

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries which provides services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Their commitment to sustainability dates back in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat.

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