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Smart Building Systems Designers


The term “smart building” seems like a new concept, but people have been trying to improve the performance of systems in buildings for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. In the early 1600s, Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutch inventor who built the first navigable submarine, designed an oven with a simple thermostat. This was one of the first humanmade feedback mechanisms in history. Drebbel also invented the first known system of air conditioning.

In more recent times, technological advances fueled the growth of automated systems and buildings. In the 1960s, electromechanical multiplexing systems were developed that allowed the automatic control of air-handling units in buildings. The worldwide energy crisis in 1973 prompted government officials and the public to seek ways to reduce energy use and improve energy efficiency. Advances in computing power and the emergence of minicomputers and programmable logic controllers helped spur the development of energy management systems. In the 1980s, the introduction of digital building systems that collected information about and managed lighting, heating and cooling systems, elevators, and other systems and machinery marked the beginning of the modern smart building era. In the last two decades, rapid improvements in the speed and computing power of computers; the generation, collection, and analysis of large amounts of data (known as Big Data); the invention of the Internet of things (which refers to the trend of creating everyday objects with sensors that allow them to connect to the Internet); the emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning; and a continuing desire for the more efficient operation of buildings to save money and reduce energy output have created a strong need for people who can design smart buildings.

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