Lis Christy with Stacey Vaeth Photography
Wanda Lau

Year in progress

Nov. 15, 2022
Editorial director Wanda Lau reflects on the increasing attention to smart buildings and the role that Smart Buildings Technology can continue to play in the future in her editorial for the November 2022 issue.

Nearly a year ago, I set out to cover the application of technology across the building life cycle, which spans a vast amount of time, complexity, and knowledge—one reason the industry has been historically siloed. But more than ever, participants—as well as stakeholders in adjacent sectors, such as policy, environmental science, and software development—are committed to tracking multiple phases of a building’s long life.

The reasons may be motivated by finances or corporate values: Why is property A using more energy per square foot than property C? Will our retrofit produce the ROI we promised investors? Are we supporting our client’s ESG goals if our design lacks infrastructure to support solar or electrification in a future phase?

The need to see continuous improvement also compels. Is our design objective of net-zero happening? Have the connected lighting controls improved occupant experience? Was our ICT design adequate after five years?

And curiosity is a good motivator: Are tenants leveraging the HVAC controls that we spent weeks programming, or did they override the systems? Are occupants using flex spaces or returning to assigned task areas?

Whatever the reason, the world needs more talk, action, and collaboration across our humanmade divisions. But collecting, organizing, and analyzing information takes time and resources, for which few firms have sufficiently budgeted.

Whatever the reason, the world needs more talk, action, and collaboration across our humanmade divisions.

That’s where the promise of smart building technology lies. Yes, the technology is still evolving and accessibility remains limited, but activity and progress are happening.

This issue exemplifies what is possible when people with diverse talents, expertise, and motivations align. Notably, our first Smart Building of the Year recipient, the PAE Living Building, represents the culmination of what buildings can become today.

Other issue highlights include a list of smart holiday gifts; critical updates in cabling standards; and conversations with AECO leaders on 2022 takeaways and 2023 aspirations. The slightly differing priorities and perspectives across the disciplines demonstrate how almost every obstacle can be solved when we commune together.

I’m proud Smart Buildings Technology has brought together subjects and subject matter experts to date, and I hope it continues to evolve the conversation and the industry into the future.

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About the Author

Wanda Lau | Editorial Director

Wanda Lau is the editorial director of Smart Buildings Technology, LEDs Magazine, and Architectural SSL. She is an award-winning editor, writer, and podcaster whose work appears in several publications, including Architectural Lighting and Architect, where she was most recently the executive editor. In 2021, she was named one of Folio: and AdMonsters' Top Women in Media, in the DEI Champions category. Along with working a decade in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, she holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Michigan State University, an S.M. in building technology from MIT, and an M.A. in journalism from Syracuse University.

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