Hong Kong interior design

How 'smart office' tech saved money for Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong and Singapore

60 per cent energy savings achieved thanks to network of sensors at one bank property in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 October, 2015, 7:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 October, 2015, 7:58am

Buildings use about 40 per cent of the world's energy, 22 per cent of its water, 40 per cent of resources and they emit about a third of all greenhouse gas, according to the UN Environment Programme.

Yet existing buildings can be made to operate more efficiently using much less energy, the agency says.

In 2013 and 2014, Standard Chartered Bank fitted its offices in Singapore and Hong Kong with smart technology that the bank says has achieved energy savings of 60 per cent.

The technology - Redwood Building Intelligence Platform, a proprietary product from US-based CommScope - was initially deployed for lighting control. But Denis McGowan of Standard Chartered says the resultant energy savings led to a full roll-out of the technology's capabilities.

"Since the system has been operational, we know that The Forum [the bank's Hong Kong headquarters in Central] now uses about 60 per cent less energy with 6 per cent fewer lighting fixtures."

Matías Peluffo, vice-president of intelligent buildings in Asia for CommScope, says the system employs a high-density network of sensors that provide real-time reporting by light fixture, group, floor and building.

"Every day, the sensors aggregate a vast amount of data on motion, temperature and light levels. This is transformed into 'actionable intelligence' letting the user monitor space utilisation, helping to inform real estate strategies," he says.

"For example, Standard Chartered Bank uses the sensors to turn audio-visual technology on and off in conference rooms at The Forum."

He adds that the sensors can detect the level of light coming through the windows and adjust accordingly, and work with heating and cooling systems to regulate the temperature.

Conserving energy in today's world is a worthy goal, but companies providing this technology tend to make a business case for why offices should adopt smart building technology. While Peluffo declined to talk about exact costs, he says Hong Kong customers would get a return on their investment in less than three years if they integrate the system to include air conditioning.

In fact, if the savings achieved through space utilisation are factored in, Peluffo claims the return-on-investment rate drops to two years.

The system is "portable to some degree", he adds. "Should the customer move on, they can take the Redwood components to other locations. The low voltage cabling, sensors and software can be repurposed, and sometimes the LED fixtures, depending on the design."