August 25, 2019

One for all: Lighting technology makes real estate smart

An exclusive report about smartengine on, written by our Senior Vice President | Sales & Marketing: Henning von Gagern.

One for all: Lighting technology makes real estate smart

If you ask yourself what decision-makers in companies should pay particular attention to in their real estate strategy, you can’t get past the employees.

Not only because they ideally take care of an optimal strategic orientation, but also because in times of a blatant shortage of skilled workers their satisfaction is elementary for the future of companies. This applies to the recruitment of employees and also when it comes to binding them to a company in the long term.

This is also confirmed by studies, including the “EMEA Occupier Survey 2019”, a survey conducted by the real estate service provider CBRE, which surveyed around 200 companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Around two-thirds of the companies surveyed rated employee satisfaction and the so-called “war for talents” as the most important drivers of real estate strategies. But how do you manage to design buildings in such a way that they influence and increase the attractiveness of the company for skilled workers?

Modern working environments need smart systems

Safe: Design and use of the modern office environment are already evolving. This is impressively demonstrated by many examples of new working environments for well-known companies. But most traditional automation and IT systems cannot keep up with the new, adaptable and creative concepts. The noticeable shift from a more formal office environment to flexible, creative and activity-based workplaces where users can easily interact with their building and its offerings presents new challenges for consultants, planners and project managers. So how do you build a future-proof building that meets the changing challenges of today and will evolve and adapt flexibly tomorrow?

A nervous system of light

The answer will surprise most people: Intelligent lighting technology is one of the keys. In concrete terms, this means that luminaires are installed at regular intervals in all rooms as usual. These are supplemented by sensors with which they measure brightness, temperature and movement. The data is transmitted continuously and in real time to a central control unit via an encrypted connection. An associated app or dashboard provides owners and operators with an accurate view of how their properties are being used. For example, if workstations in a coworking space are not occupied, the system – the smartengine – draws attention to the vacancies and thus ensures optimum capacity utilisation. The data is used to control the light – and, if desired, also heating, air conditioning and ventilation. The result: up to 40 percent savings in operating costs. The system uses a conventional IT infrastructure and manufacturer-independent LED luminaires and can therefore also make existing buildings fit for the future and smarter in the event of revitalisation. smartengine has received several awards for this sustainable improvement in the CO2 balance – most recently from the Central Real Estate Committee, the umbrella organization of the real estate industry in Germany.

Positive influence on health

However, high savings potentials in electricity and operating costs as well as optimum utilization of space are not the only reasons in favour of using this technology. Light also has a major influence on health – light and darkness can literally brighten or cloud the mood. Natural sunlight is crucial for health and well-being. To take advantage of these positive effects, the smartengine system can simulate the course of the day indoors by adapting the artificial colour temperature to the sun’s daylight curve. The effect: a healthy working environment and efficient employees. The special feature of smartengine is the utilization of the available daylight, which drastically reduces energy consumption. This is referred to as Human Centric smart Lighting (HCsL).

Henning von Gagern, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing bei der wtec GmbH
Author: Henning von Gagern, Former Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing at wtec GmbH

Henning von Gagern was responsible for sales and marketing at wtec. The business graduate has been working in the construction and technical building equipment sector for over 10 years and since May 2019 has supported the strong growth of the award-winning start-up wtec (including ZIA Best Practice Innovation 2019, Top 100 Proptech Start-up in Europe according to PwC and Expo Real).

smartengine is a revolutionary technology developed by wtec in the USA and Germany. The technology has been successfully installed on more than 1.5 million square meters of commercial space worldwide in blue chip offices, government buildings, retail, data centers, schools and universities. The lighting creates a basis for an intelligent building infrastructure and a finely meshed sensor network for the generation of real-time data and control. The system uses secure low voltage over the standard IT network infrastructure to transmit power and data. smartengine eliminates the need for traditional building systems and is the perfect player in an open, secure and networked building. Further developments such as beacons are close to market maturity.

Drees & Sommer: Innovative partner for consulting, planning, construction and operation.

Drees & Sommer is the innovative partner for consulting, planning, construction and operation. As a leading European consulting, planning and project management company, Drees & Sommer has been assisting private and public clients as well as investors for almost 50 years in all matters relating to real estate and infrastructure – both analogue and digital. This results in economic and sustainable buildings, profitable real estate portfolios, people-oriented working environments and visionary mobility concepts. In interdisciplinary teams, the 3,200 employees at 40 locations worldwide support clients from a wide range of industries. The partner-managed company provides all services under the premise of combining economy and ecology. This holistic approach is called “the blue way” at Drees & Sommer.

The above text was published online on on 24.07.2019. Read the original here (German version):