Cities across the globe are continuing to make amazing innovations in building automation. However, the poster boy for the smart building industry remains the Edge in Amsterdam. Deemed the ‘smartest office space ever constructed’, the Edge perfectly combines user experience with sustainability. Not only is the Edge the world’s smartest building, it’s also the greenest.
British rating agency BREEAM gave the Edge a sustainability score of 98.4%, the highest score ever awarded. The smart building achieves this in a number of ways. The Edge uses super-efficient LED panels, powered using the same cables which carry Internet data. These panels are also packed with around 28,000 sensors, measuring:
On the Southern wall and roof of the smart building is an array of solar panels. When combined with panels on the roofs of neighbouring university buildings, the Edge produces more energy than it consumes. Overall, the smart building uses around 70% less electricity than the typical office building. These results are in part achievable due to a long-term perspective of ROIs. For example, the digital ceiling of the building will take 8.3 years to earn back.
For any smart building, user experience should be a top priority. The Edge epitomises this. As employees arrive, their cars are recognised and directed to a parking space. This process is of course energy-optimised. The lights in the parking lot brighten as a car approaches and dim as they leave. Even the coffee machines are smart. The building’s various espresso machines remember how the user likes their coffee. Sensors even alert staff when the machines need refilling.
The Edge boasts its own custom-built app, with countless features. As you arrive, the app allocates you a workspace based on your work schedule. This varies from:
It also tweaks the environment based on your preferences for lighting and temperature. The app is also packed with other features, from finding colleagues to managing a gym routine. It even allows the user to order a dinner recipe, and have ingredients awaiting them at the end of the day.
To manage all the systems operating within the Edge, it needed a unifying dashboard. Deloitte was developed to achieve this. The system collects data on how the building and its users interact. Based on this, the entire building can be optimised to waste as little energy as possible. For example, on days when fewer employees are expected, sections can be shut down to cut the cost of heating, cooling, lighting, and cleaning.