- Smart technology can reduce a commercial building's energy use by nearly a fifth, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's recent report, Smart Buildings: a Deeper Dive into Market Segments.
- The study examined office and retail space, hotels and hospitals and found each segment has significant differences in smart technology adoption. About 75% of healthcare buildings use building automation systems while less than 40% of hotels use them.
- Offices see an average 18% savings, retail and hospitals, 14% savings, and hotels, 8% savings. The study also showed that smart buildings can yield increased worker productivity.
The smart cities concept is becoming more widely talked about and implemented. In December 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched its Smart City Challenge, which tasked mid-sized cities with developing ideas for an integrated, smart transportation system that would use data, applications and technology to help people and goods move quickly, cheaply and efficiently. Columbus, OH, emerged as the victor from the 78 cities that applied.
Columbus received a $40 million grant from the DOT and another $10 million from Vulcan, a company focused on philanthropy. The 15 DOT projects include smart mobility hubs, street lighting and truck platooning, while the Vulcan projects focus on electrification of transportation, including adding 305 electric vehicle charging stations.
Last October, commercial real estate developer KDC and property owner Hoque Global proposed a 20-acre downtown Dallas mixed-use smart district. Local developers, who have offered the space as a contender for Amazon's HQ2, hope the district will integrate technology and talent recruitment for downtown.
Meanwhile, Toronto, Canada, is in the midst of finalizing a 3 million-square-foot "digital city" project, led by Sidewalk Labs LLC, that will showcase smart and connected infrastructure and buildings.
In November, Bill Gates spent $80 million on a 24,800-acre parcel of land in Arizona with the intention of turning it into a smart city. His investment group, Belmont Partners, said in a statement that the community will have a "communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs."
Smart Cities Dive, sister publication to Construction Dive, anticipates six trends that will influence the space throughout 2018: equitable innovation, electric vehicle infrastructure expansion, 5G technology, cybersecurity, blockchain and microtransit.