The sector has identified priority themes to be addressed in 2011 and 2012 which will include:

Intelligent building systems

Binery code (Technologies: energy consumption, lighting systems, control systems, and notification systems.)

Technology can help to reduce energy consumption at the point of use by providing intelligent integrated control of building services, more efficient equipment and lighting systems.

The focus of this research and development (R&D) is to reduce energy consumption of new builds and refurbishment programmes by implementing intelligent integrated control systems, with more efficient equipment and lighting systems.

Energy systems

Solar panel (Technologies: systems integration, embedded generation, systems within buildings, and systems on distributed sites.)

Energy systems cover the overall performance of systems in buildings. Its broad remit includes the energy required for conditioning the environment within buildings, through to energy capture, recovery, conversion and storage right through  to integrating buildings into local energy networks.
Energy storage remains high on the agenda of built environment research programmes. Examples include seasonal ground source systems, battery storage, regenerative breaking systems in lifts and scavenging systems.

Other technologies of interest are trigeneration, heat pumps, direct heating, photovoltaic panels and phase change materials (PCM). The latter is very much at the forefront of emerging technologies at the moment.

Building transport systems

A glass fronted elevator (Technologies: lift systems, escalator systems, and horizontal walkways.)

Building transport systems play a large part in building energy consumption yet a significant percentage of their energy is wasted as heat. The industry is hampered by a lack of R&D, due to the limited number of manufacturers now left in the market place.

Emerging challenges for building transport systems are:

  • motor room-less options
  • intelligent control systems
  • building management systems interfacing
  • energy recovery systems

Environmental conditioning systems

Conditioning system (Technologies: occupant/user engagement, interaction/ convergence with other systems, asset management life cycle costing, design and integration, building physics, calculations and compliance.)

Environmental conditioning systems provide the means to modify the environment to suit the needs of occupants or processes.

One of the biggest issues is matching consumer needs with the technology available. Other emerging drivers for these technologies are interaction/convergence. There is a drive for asset management life cycle costing within the market place which is lending itself to deploy these technologies. The options available to meet these core needs are ever more difficult to reconcile.

Zero carbon buildings, resource scarcity, an increasing recognition of our stewardship of the planet, climate change/adaptation and the reality that few of us will accept lower standards of comfort are the challenges we face. To meet these challenges we must bring together best practice in an integrated way.

Safety critical systems

a PC with a first aid kit (Technologies: fire systems, emergency lighting, and ICT systems.)

Large modern buildings need robust systems to ensure the safety and security of occupants and its infrastructure. There are a wide range of threats to buildings which need increasingly sophisticated technical responses. The rise of networked building systems is an important and emerging trend.

This includes the issues where organisational network security is combined with security access in critical building systems. As a result, this is driving the need for better security systems that provide a fail safe system along with expected protection from unauthorised third party intrusion (hackers).