Ask the Expert: Smart Campuses

What are some features of a 'smart campus?'

As educational institutions strive to provide a safe, comfortable, and productive learning environment, the idea of creating a “smart campus” has become more top-of-mind for school leaders, and systems integration can help achieve this goal.

By connecting once disparate systems, data can be collected and aggregated from different building applications into a centralized location. This streamlined approach allows institutions to analyze the data more easily, which can ultimately help administrators make actionable, data-based decisions to improve operational efficiencies and become more intelligent. While the systems integration process may sound complicated, accomplishing connectivity is more attainable than many may think as existing building solutions, such as lighting, can act as the building blocks for a smarter campus.

Lighting is a core component of any building, but on campus it plays a major role in the productivity and comfort of students and faculty. When integrated with other building systems, like sensors and heating and cooling systems, lighting can work as the foundation to a more intelligent and sustainable campus. By connecting with sensors, indoor lighting systems can receive insights on when classrooms are in use to turn on and modify lighting levels accordingly and outdoor lighting structures around the perimeter in parking lots can be alerted to automatically adjust to the available daylight.

Heating and cooling systems can also communicate with the lighting network and sensors to control the indoor temperature based on the weather. In both cases, systems integration can not only help a campus become smarter and more operationally sound, but the unified solutions can also uncover great energy savings.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2019 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Julie Brown is an institutional market leader for Johnson Controls, Building Solutions North America (www.johnsoncontrols.com).

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