However slow it may seem, technology is changing building engineering processes. One of the major developments on the horizon isn’t a device or program like the institution of BIM or drones. It’s a process. The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is one of the most talked about technology applications in not only modern engineering but every vertical that uses data or information. While immediate impacts may be indirect, engineers can be assured that it will affect how they design and manage building systems in the future.

Research from the Department of Energy shows buildings account for 40% of energy use in the U.S., with 30% of that being wasted. By leveraging the Internet-of-Things, HVAC, lighting, and other types of electrical loads can see a cost savings of 10% to 25%. That’s a significant amount of cost savings for building engineers and developers alike.

What is the Internet-of-Things?

To understand how the Internet-of-Things (IoT) will impact engineering, it’s important to understand just what IoT means. The most basic definition of IoT is the concept of connecting anything that has an on and off switch to the internet. This encompasses a broad and large group of devices and machines.

For building engineering, this will involve connecting Building Information Modeling (BIM) to devices and machines to improve construction processes, provide safer environments for workers, and reduce construction waste. For building operations, IoT will mean more interconnectivity between any devices in the building; not just those typically controlled and monitored for main building functions such as heating and cooling, lighting, and security systems. IoT strives to connect everything.

Skyscraper | Building Engineering and the Internet-of-Things

Applications for Building Engineering

The biggest application in building engineering will be in smart building design. The infrastructure of most smart buildings today operate from a building automation system that is controlled either on one main computer or from a web-based system. As more systems gravitate to working from web-based systems that are stored in the Cloud, moving to IoT processes will become easier and more powerful.

Some of the possible ways that IoT can be implemented in engineering are:

 

 

Key Benefits of Internet-of-Things in Engineering

The applications for IoT in buildings is vast but also will greatly impact building design and construction integration as well. As design-build models become more common, BIM will be the primary method for controlling projects from start to finish. When combined with IoT, building construction will be leaner and more cost effective.

The key benefits of IoT in building engineering will be:

 

 

 

In Conclusion

IoT may sound like a futuristic and unclear term for most people, but the benefits are becoming more apparent to construction managers and owners alike. Over the next few years it will become part of building engineering processes. The ability to connect all devices and aggregate information in a cloud-based system is attractive to most owners that want to control building costs and conserve energy.

Combined with the BIM process and then integrated with a BMS for ongoing operations and maintenance, IoT will make a huge impact on how buildings are operated and maintained in the future. We’re just only beginning to see early benefits from adopters.

VIP Structures is an integrated design-build firm in Upstate New York. We find a better way to build through the perspective of our clients and building owners. Questions about our firm? Contact us below.

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