Sustainability and IoT: Designing the Buildings of Tomorrow

July 27

Architects and designers can play a big role in making sustainable buildings that are attractive and comfortable for each person who uses them.

In addition to including sustainable design concepts in new construction, sustainable design advocates commonly encourage retrofitting existing buildings rather than building anew. Retrofitting an existing building can often be more cost-effective than building a new facility. 

Read on: How Smart Construction Might Transform the Way We Build Post-COVID

Existing buildings can be renovated to incorporate sustainable design attributes to lower operating costs, reduce environmental impact, and increase building resilience. 

Sustainability concepts in building design change with time, but these six principles remain consistent:

1. Optimizing Site Potential

Local ecosystems, transportation methods, and energy consumption are influenced by a building’s location, orientation, and landscaping. Whether it’s a single complex or a massive one like a military base, smart growth principles are essential to incorporate into project development. 

A successful building project will require the integration of site design and sustainable design, regardless of whether it is a new, or the retrofit of an existing structure. 

2. Optimizing Energy Usage

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics indicate that about 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings goes to waste. Therefore, sustainable building designs offer greater opportunities for building managers and owners to save money on operational costs.

Efficiencies in resource use and eco-friendly design reduce pollution and save energy to create healthy, productive, working and living spaces. An environmentally friendly building uses energy and natural resources efficiently to minimizes its impact. 

With IoT, energy consumption can be predicted, consumption patterns can be traced, and energy usage can be optimized.

Keep on reading: How Modern Technologies Pave the Way for Digital Construction

3. Improving Water Conservation

The United States is facing an increasing scarcity of freshwater resources. The design and construction of a sustainable buildings minimizes the impact on freshwater stocks by using water efficiently. A green building should also promote on-site water recycling whenever possible.

It has been common practice to conserve water, but next-generation smart devices utilizing IoT technology offer the best solution to take conservation to the next level. As the Internet of Things develops, smart water meters and sensors will become more prevalent in home and offices. 

4. Optimizing Building Space and Material Usage

Natural resources (and the demand for them) are being used more and more as the world’s population continues to grow. Throughout the life cycle of a building, sustainable materials should be used and reused to maximize productivity and reduce waste.

By using sustainable materials, we can reduce global warming, natural resource depletion, and pollution. Sustainable buildings can benefit from IoT’s new smart construction and space management trends. The IoT dramatically increases traceability and control so that you can save money and improve facility management.

5. Enhanced Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

In addition to occupant health, comfort, and productivity, good indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is crucial for constructing a building. Sustainability involves maximizing daylight, controlling ventilation and moisture, optimizing acoustic performance, and avoiding materials with highly volatile organic compounds.

Commercial air quality can be improved with HVAC modifications, although every building is different. Modern technologies such as IoT and the cloud have uncovered new real-time monitoring methods in many fields. Real-time IEQ monitoring applications will certainly emerge in the market. These types of visibility can be delivered through SaaS applications.

Read more: How IoT Is Transforming Civil Engineering

6. Optimize Operational and Maintenance Practices

Building owners have a unique challenge in balancing the needs of safe, secure, and productive environments while designing new or renovated sustainable buildings.

In collaboration with site contractors, engineers, architects, and other experts, they can suggest materials and systems which reduce operation and maintenance costs. These practices are cost-effective in reducing water, energy requirements, along with the level of toxic chemicals on-site and within the facility.


Modern civilizations must pursue sustainable development as a matter of urgency. Governments can safeguard their populations’ prosperity by strengthening their economies and infrastructure. Likewise, decision-makers should strive to achieve sustainability at every stage throughout a building’s usable lifecycle to achieve the benefits of maximum resilience with minimal environmental impact.

Johannes Beekman

About the author

Our CEO has more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing in the high-tech industry. Johannes has worked for 25 years in the semiconductor industry, where he worked for Philips, Infineon, and Sematech in various management positions in process development, engineering, operations, and sales and marketing. While working for Philips, he was an engineering manager in 2 wafer fab startups. And while at Sematech, he managed various international technical symposia. He has built 3 successful digital marketing companies in the past 8 years. His focus is marketing integration, marketing technology, SEO, and inbound and outbound marketing. And he has developed a content creation system that uses the AIDA model to develop content for every stage of the sales funnel. Johannes has experience working with companies in manufacturing, the high-tech industry, process industry, IT, healthcare, and legal industry, and he has published on several trade-focused websites.


green buildings, IoT sensors, smart buidling, smart construction, sustainability, sustainable building

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