Building Envelope blog posts

Intelligent building – utopia or reality?

Intelligent buildings have been discussed for at least two decades. The Internet of Things has added speed to the development. Developing various sensors and data networks has brought immense possibilities to the reasonable control of buildings and the real-time linking of functions occurring inside the building.

Intelligence is primarily associated with building automation. Seen from the outside, the goings-on in building automation have been wild. Globally, there are separate standalone and partially closed systems the communication of which with the outside world has been demanding, to say at the least. In the past few years, some protocols have been created, such as Bacnet, Modbus and KNX, some of which are standardized. This is a good trend but we are still far away from open and adaptive systems.  Furthermore, the data network protections of different companies bring their own challenge to the fluent transfer of information. Are we actually ready for the possibilities of the Internet of Things?

We struggle on the steps of various qualities of information:  Data - Information – Knowledge. A huge amount of data exists in various systems but their availability can often be only limited to the ‘appropriate’ and safe operation of control devices. The purchase of a device does not necessarily guarantee the ownership of data or information produced by the device if it was not specified in the call for offers.  There seem to exist hindrances for calculating other information from the data or combining them to other functions in the building and, thus, hindrances for descending to the upmost step, knowledge.

Buildings are always for the user

In Ruukki, we have started an expedition to this world of collecting and utilising data. We are building a user-oriented demonstration to our new Technology Centre situated in a recently completed, near zero-energy building in Hämeenlinna, Finland.  We built a visual interface by utilising the spatial mock-up of the building. The purpose of the tool is to easily demonstrate the functionality of the technical solutions of the building and the status of the indoor conditions and the structural components. The model also helps the user to see the effects of their operations in the functionality of the building. Keeping the bay doors open for too long, for instance, affects the indoor conditions but also considerably the energy consumption.  The model was also combined with an RdNet people detecting & flow system which shows the real-time locations of people in the space. This location information is utilised e.g. in controlling lighting. We would be happy to welcome our customers and partners to get to know the possibilities of the system and to develop together additional services producing value to the user.

Read more about the near zero-energy hall at