Smart building management icons on building with city background.  Smart building management icons on building with city background. Smart buildings are the future. (Photo: Montri Nipitvittaya/Shutterstock)

6 'smart buildings' that'll make you excited for the future

These technological wonders can help you find a parking space, remember your coffee preference and even 'eat' smog.

Not all buildings are made equal. This can best be illustrated by those present on this list, all of them structures that redefine what a building can be. They're commonly referred to as "smart" buildings. They are so because of how brilliantly they combine engineering and innovation to address many concerns in the world. Take a tour of the ones below...

The Edge: Amsterdam, Netherlands

The smart Edge office building in Amsterdam.The Edge operates off a network of some 28,000 censors placed throughout the building. (Photo: PLP Architects)

Deemed the "smartest building in the world" by no less than Bloomberg, The Edge is a technological wonder that makes everything it touches operate more efficiently.

Built for global consulting firm Deloitte, the building connects all employees to an app that keeps them apprised of their daily schedule and directs them to a parking spot upon arrival each morning.

The Edge is billed as offering a "radically new working environment" and, with that in mind, employees don't have assigned workspaces. Instead, the app locates a desk for each employee upon their arrival to the office. It is also able to program their preferences for light and temperature.

If all that weren't enough, according to British rating agency BREEAM, The Edge is the ­greenest building in the world.

Intel Office: Tel Aviv, Israel

Intel's new smart building is LEED certified and will become more efficient as time passes.Intel's new smart building is LEED certified and will become more efficient as time passes. (Photo: Intel)

Once completed, Intel's new office in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel, might just outsmart The Edge. It will have the capability of learning the habits of every employee and customizing his or her working environment. Among other things, the building will know which coffee to make for each employee, when to send him or her to get a haircut, and where the employee should park.

Other noteworthy services will include setting air conditioning temperatures in meetings based on the combined preferences of each attendee; and determining the best hour for each employee to eat, whether or not their favorite dish is being served and if their friends are available to join.

Siemens City: Vienna, Austria

Siemens City in Vienna, one of the world's smartest buildings complexes.Siemens City was built with the environment in mind. (Photo: Siemens)

Siemens is a global leader in innovation, so it makes sense that its Vienna offices are a model of just that. The City’s new main tower rests on 120 concrete pillars that extend 100 feet into the ground and heat the buildings’ offices in winter and cool them in summer through special conductor pipes.

The Siemens building management system – which can access some 10,000 sensors located throughout the complex – provides extremely energy-efficient lighting, room temperature and ventilation control. For example, heating and lighting systems in an office are automatically shut down when a sensor signals that all employees have left the room. The energy-efficiency measures implemented in the new headquarters will reduce annual CO2 emissions by 1,000 tons.

Palazzo Italia: Milan, Italy

The Palazzo Italia, a smart building in Milan.The Palazzo Italia 'eats' smog and helps to reduce pollution. (Photo: World Expo 2015)

Rather than its surface being marked by pollution, the Palazzo Italia's 900 exterior concrete panels help to reduce it. Thanks to a biodynamic material that envelopes each panel, air pollution is captured when it comes into contact with light, which then transforms into inert salts that can reduce smog levels in the environment.

The building is also able to provide its own energy needs thanks to extensive use of photovoltaic glass and photocatalytic concrete cladding.

Environmental Systems Inc. headquarters: Brookfield, Wisconsin

As a smart solutions building supplier, it makes sense that ESI would itself be housed in a smart building. This one may very well be the smartest on the planet from the standpoint of operational efficiency.

First of all, the building systems – communications, control, security, life safety, audiovisual and digital signage – operate on a central network that can generate and share data and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the structure. All of this, of course, can be tracked on a monitor in the building's main lobby.

In its first year of operations, the building saved 41% on energy costs and eliminated 223 tons of CO2. The building is 10,000 square feet larger than the company's previous location, yet utility costs are now two-thirds of what they once were.

Bill Gates' Home: Washington state

Bill Gates' house in Washington state.Bill Gates' home, pictured here in 2001, is worth at least $123 million. (Photo: Dan Callister/Newsmakers)

For Microsoft founder and tech pioneer Bill Gates, home is a carefully measured 24-hour surveillance mechanism for all who enters.

Get this: According to Business Insider, when you arrive at Gates' 66,000-square-foot estate, you are given a pin that allows you to set your preferred temperature and lighting for each room throughout the house as well as music preference. Computer screens displaying art are also programmable based on personal preference.

But it's not all just about keeping visitors warm and comfy. It's also about monitoring them. The flooring of the house is pressure-sensitive so that family or security personnel can know who is in the residence at any given time based on the weight of their footsteps.


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