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COVER STORY | SMART BUILDINGS: WHAT ‘SMART’ REALLY MEANS

value. So-called ‘“passive components’ - that is, architectural design, building location and building materials - are overlooked. Hence, the HSBS seems to be best suited for property owners looking to smart up their properties by using Honeywell’s solutions rather than those aiming for a holistic view of what a building should include in order to qualify as smart. Noticeably, scoring methodologies defined by corporations tend to be biased towards their sponsors’ product and service offerings.

Public Versus Private Indices Of Smart Buildings The alternatives to corporate indices of smart buildings are public indices developed by industry organisations,

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academics and/ or governments. These indices are usually closer to certifications than scores. As many countries have adopted different key performance indicators (KPIs) for smart buildings, public indicators of smart buildings embody deeply rooted and diverging interpretations of smart buildings’ essence and contributions to smart urban environments across the globe. While Europe’s Smart Readiness Index (SRI) promoted by the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy is geared towards sustainability, the US (with the Building Intelligence Quotient or BiQ) emphasises the performance and cost effectiveness of smart buildings. By the same token, Asian countries have adopted a wide range of indicators with very different KPIs. In South Korea, one of the global leaders in smart technologies, intelligent building indices focus on smart features only, as sustainability is assessed by a separate certification initiated beforehand by

the government. In Japan, the focus is on services derived from smart features whereas China emphasises system aspects. Interestingly, Asia has been at the forefront of smart building index development. The first index of building intelligence ever published - the Intelligent Building index (IBI) was introduced by the Asian Institute of Intelligent Buildings in Hong Kong in 2005. Irrespective of their KPIs, most existing scores encapsulate an engineering view of smart buildings. Such a view defines smart buildings as highly sophisticated, self-contained ‘machines’, by emphasising their technology rather than their interactive dimension. Despite covering a wide array of elements, these public indices overwhelmingly ignore a building’s ability to interact with its smart urban environment, which is a source of both efficiencies instrumental to a smart city’s success (for example, buildings as prosumers in smart energy grids) and risks (for example, data breach on connected ICT networks).

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