Smart building technologies to promote a healthy environment

At the height of the pandemic, with mixed messaging around indoor air quality and other environmental elements that contribute to a ‘healthy building’, Deloitte published a smart building technologies guide. The purpose of this guide was to enable building owners and operators to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for teams returning to the workplace.

The main categories of healthy smart buildings tools fall under the following functions: 

  • Managing occupancy in real time: Post-pandemic, area occupancy will likely need to be reduced and monitored in real time to ensure compliance with safety guidelines. IoT sensors enable dynamic occupancy analytics, which can be linked to existing workplace apps or ICT systems for real-time alerts for building owners and operators.
  • Tracking people movement: Starting with temperature screening at the point of entry, there are many new technologies being used to track movement within the workplace. This was being done prior to the pandemic to accurately measure the true usage of spaces within a building and to help automate wayfinding. Post-pandemic, this will be critical to ensure adherence to social distancing measures. The Deloitte paper includes carpetings embedded with LED lighting that can provide visual prompts to building occupants and visitors. 
  • Monitoring and improving air quality and ensuring adequate ventilation, including smart maintenance of  HVAC systems: Indoor air quality, or IAQ, has been a critical part of the Covid-19 safety conversation. There are many new technologies to reduce the spread of infection and to improve the air flow throughout a building, but the first step is always measurement. Sonitus Systems’ cloud-based monitoring ensures access to real-time, actionable insights for building occupants.
  • Manage noise within the buildings: A new study looking at the average noise levels in offices has found that open-plan offices may be a significant contributor to employee stress levels. Considering 70 percent of office workers find themselves in such an environment (Ireland has a high number of open workspaces per capita), the issue is particularly troublesome. Members of the Sonitus Systems team are currently working with leading companies worldwide to manage workplace noise and empower building occupants with real-time acoustic data. Learn more about how open plan office noise affects mood and stress, click here: 
  • Pandemic-responsive cleaning regime: Using the data generated around building occupancy and people tracking, cleaning activities will need to be focused on areas of higher use. Also, the old-fashioned pen and paper notices will no longer be sufficient as a record of cleaning. Significantly, (on the low tech side of things) during the pandemic, cleaning staff within buildings started to use high-visibility vests, not for any safety advantage, but to increase the awareness of ongoing building cleaning activities. 
  • General building management, including BMS upgrades for better connectivity:  Many of the technology solutions innovated and deployed over the past two years are dependent upon IoT sensors and interoperability has become a growing problem for building owners, who find themselves forced to engage with several different systems, using several different dashboards. While this is not ideal, it is symptomatic of the rapid uptake in technology, making previously ‘dumb’ buildings smart. 

The above is merely a snapshot of the new proptech solutions available to enhance the comfort and health of building occupants. The Deloitte publication can be viewed in full and downloaded here: Smart Building Tech.

Also, to understand the difference between healthy buildings and green buildings, check out this recent article by the Sonitus team: 

Sonitus Systems offers both the hardware and software for a range of environmental parameters on a continual basis, with real-time information available through our Sonitus Cloud dashboard. For more details on our indoor and outdoor noise and air quality monitoring products and services, please contact the team at