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Expert: When buildings are smart, cities automatically get smarter

If we can get our buildings to become smart, our cities will automatically become smarter, an expert said

Sougata Nandi, founder of 3e Advisory.
Sougata Nandi, founder of 3e Advisory.

If we can get our buildings to become smart, our cities will automatically become smarter, an expert said.

Sougata Nandi, founder of 3e Advisory, told MEP Middle East that "smart MEP" is not only about energy efficiency. He said: "Its focus needs to shift towards healthy and productive buildings. MEP systems are designed for maximum capacity – peak occupancy and peak cooling load – which rarely occur for more than a few countable hours in a year.

"A smart MEP system should neither be designed for extreme conditions, nor should it be limited by its controls to be compelled to operate at full load. A truly smart MEP system should be designed to deliver the optimal indoor environmental quality (IEQ), making occupants most productive, at the lowest environmental and economic footprint."

Nandi added that while the MEP industry will have to actively participate in this evolution. He believed that three simultaneous shifts need to happen to help make smart MEP a reality.

He said: "First and foremost, developers need to become more informed and mature in their decision-making, providing equal support to MEP, as much as they do to architecture and interiors.

"Second, a rapid convergence of the MEP industry with the telco industry needs to happen. There should be only one communication backbone over which all telco, security, surveillance, access and MEP systems must communicate and operate.

"Third, the MEP industry, and particularly the HVAC industry, need to embed intelligence in every device that is manufactured. And this covers every valve, damper, sensor, meter etc., to be intelligent and able to communicate as soon as they are installed and commissioned. The communication needs to happen seamlessly and this is where the telco backbone becomes an integral component in smart MEP."

Nandi concluded by saying: "With devices getting smarter, we need to collect and manage ever-increasing data for intelligent decision-making. Smart MEP needs to remove silos like chilled water system, air-side equipment, building automation systems, access controls etc. and integrate all systems into one strategy. After all, if we can get our buildings to become smart, our cities will automatically become smarter."

To read Nandi's entire interview, check out the issue #1210 of MEP Middle East. 

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