Intelligent buildings apply technologies to improve the building environment and functionality for occupants/tenants while controlling costs. Improving end-user security, comfort, and accessibility all help user productivity and comfort levels. The building owner/operator wants to provide this functionality while reducing individual costs. Technologies make this possible.In Fall 1999, the Federal Interdepartmental Forum on Construction Technology, which has representatives from the departments of the Government of Canada with a major interest in construction innovation issues, identified intelligent building technologies as a significant national issues. This led to the proposal to create the Technology Roadmap for Intelligent Building Technologies.The Technology Roadmap (TRM) for Intelligent Building Technologies was a collaborative $110,000 research project between industry and five federal Canadian government departments and agencies, managed by the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-based Continental Automated Buildings Association (www.caba.org). The project focused upon commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings. Following are a few of the highlights.The BenefitsMany of the concepts that are central to intelligent buildings are already commonplace, i.e., the ability to access a building independently and securely outside of normal working hours. The major benefits of intelligent buildings are:Standardized building systems wiring enables simple upgrade modifications of control systems.A higher-value building and leasing potential can be reached via increased individual environmental control.Consumption costs are managed through zone control on a time-of-day schedule.Occupants/tenants control building systems after-hours via computer or telephone interface.Occupant/tenant after-hours system use is tracked for charge back purposes.The service/replacement history of individual relay and zone use is tracked.A single “human resources” (hire/fire) interface modifies telephone, security, parking, LAN, wireless devices, and building directory, etc.The ChallengesThe financial impact is always significant, including capital costs, expenses, and revenues. Financial implications must be correctly assessed, including the time value of money and tax effects.Intelligent building projects will affect construction processes. The successful outcome requires an integrated design, with practical solutions with regards to divisional specifications; contracts; and the interaction of the design, management, and construction staff on the project.Intelligent buildings must react to component and system failures more reliably than “conventional” systems, using system design to ensure problem isolation and resolution that improves on “conventional” performance. Education, experience, and changed practices will be required throughout the supplier community, including engineers, designers, architects, contractors, manufacturers, and those who manage and maintain the systems. Provision and use of common space, common infrastructure, and shared resources are central to economic effectiveness and advantage of intelligent buildings.Authorities having jurisdiction must ensure that codes, practices, and conventions support and encourage the deployment of intelligent buildings, to gain the functional and financial value.Excerpted from “Technology Roadmap for Intelligent Buildings,” © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (National Research Council) 2002.