Doha tops Honeywell smart building index

Smart Building Score Assessment shows some locations in GCC rank among world’s smartest buildings, but systems integration is lacking overall

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Doha tops Honeywell smart building index The GCC region has some leaders in the smart buildings segment, but overall integration between systems is lacking, says Gilsdorf.
By  Mark Sutton Published  May 24, 2016

Honeywell has conducted its first Smart Building Score assessment for the GCC, with Doha ranking as having the smartest buildings in the region.

The Honeywell Smart Building Score, a first-of-its-kind global index is a comprehensive assessment of buildings across fifteen technology assets in three main categories — green, safe and productive — with additional assessment of the systems’ overall capabilities, coverage of the facility and uptime, to provide a final ‘smart’ score.
Doha’s buildings ranked smartest of all the cities in the GCC which were assessed, with an average building score of 70 out of a possible 100 points. Dubai was second with an average of 65 out of 100, while Abu Dhabi came third with a score of 48. The average for the Middle East was also 48 out of 100.

Norm Gilsdorf, president for Honeywell’s Middle East, Russia and Central Asia regions commented: “Smart buildings are the fundamental building blocks of smart cities, and every city in the survey showed clear leadership in delivering examples of benchmark-setting smart buildings. We spend 80 to 90% of our lives in buildings; they are an integral part of a city’s ecosystem. With the advent of new technologies, the role buildings play is being redefined from a static environment to a more dynamic and interactive space that impacts the happiness, lifestyle, well-being and productivity of occupants.”

The survey evaluated 620 buildings in Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Riyadh, with buildings assessed in three categories. In the green category, buildings were measured for conservation and efficient use of natural resources; flexible cooling and heating; power consumption monitoring and control; energy efficient electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures. For productivity, buildings were judged on wired and wireless communications and data infrastructures; indoor environment comfort, quality and control; people, vehicle and cargo management; and uninterrupted power supply. In the safe category, buildings were assessed for worker safety and personal protection; disaster response; people and vehicle screening and asset control; gas and water leakage detection and notification; and surveillance and intrusion monitoring.

The Smart Building Score has already been launched in China, India and the US, with average rankings of 82, 33 and 35 out of 100 respectively, although Gilsdorf said that results between regions were not comparable.

“We are reluctant to draw comparisons between regions because of varying sample sizes, local context and other region-specific considerations. Comparing country and region scores like for like would not present a fair comparison.

“The results and analysis take into consideration a variety of local factors, and the biggest value of the Honeywell Smart Building Score is how it is interpreted and applied within each individual region. With that being said, all cities surveyed in the Middle East  boasted impressive local building leaders. For example, the highest individual score achieved in Abu Dhabi was 89 out of 100, and in Riyadh it was 93 out of 100,” he added.

Overall, airports ranked as the smartest category of building, with an average of 80 out of 100, while were high-rise residential buildings (45) and education facilities (41) ranked lowest. Public buildings were consistently ranked higher (an average of 60 points) than private sector buildings (average 48 points).

Smart buildings offer benefits through increased productivity, safety and environmental impact, Gilsdorf said. Research has shown that that employee productivity can be increased by up to 11% through improved building ventilation alone, and by 23% from improved lighting design, he noted, and although the differences in smart scores between categories of building reflect their different systems requirements, there are common systems which should be a focus for all facilities, such as access control, fire alarms, and heating and cooling systems, which are important across the board.

Another important finding of the study was that 57% of the buildings in the GCC were found to lack efficiency-boosting technology and integration between systems that helps centralize facility information and streamline operations.

Gilsdorf commented: “The integration of building systems is very important, because it maximizes efficiency and streamlines operations by centralizing information from standalone systems. This results in more efficient performance, simplified operations and reduced energy and operating costs. With the exception of airports, our study of Middle East buildings found that connectivity and system integration is lagging in the region, with 57% of buildings surveyed having no integration present.

“This presents building owners with the opportunity to optimize their building performance and drive efficiency, with minimal changes to the individual assets themselves,” he said.

In terms of government action on smart buildings, Honeywell suggests that authorities look to implementing internationally proven incentive schemes to encourage the deployment of smart systems, and knowledge sharing among GCC organisations to improve expertise. Other areas of focus should include modern building codes, investment and best practice.

“Having a strong local regulatory focus on building codes such as LEED, GSAS or Estidama, coupled with effective enforcement, is crucial for the creation and maintenance of smarter buildings. This finding has been reflected in the scores. Dubai and Doha in particular have the competitive advantage created by major upcoming events such as the FIFA World Cup 2022 and Expo 2020, which put an additional focus on efficient building and infrastructure solutions which are green and sustainable,” he added.

“It is important to point out however that the regulatory environment is only one of the key factors affecting smart buildings, in addition to sufficient investment in the right technologies, the application of global and regional best practice, and effective collaboration amongst building developers, users and operators.”

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