The best smart buildings in Europe

Historically, the buildings we live and work in have been poorly-equipped to deal with modern living. Tenant expectations are low because of the little investment versus the high pace of change.

But expectations should rise. Build-to-Rent is part of the solution to make ‘Generation Rent’ more of a lifestyle choice, featuring amazing technology to create better living spaces. We are continually exploring the role technology will play in creating the smart buildings of the future, making lives not just easier, but more fulfilling.

Experts say sales of smart technology for buildings will treble over the next three years, with the UK among the countries leading the charge. At MIPIM 2019, Europe showcased what Smart means.

We’re off to Wembley

Build-to-Rent landlord Quintain is in the midst of creating a 7,600-home development in the shadows of London’s Wembley stadium. The £3bn development will feature roof gardens, a theatre, workspace, health facilities, green spaces and even a primary school.

But the 63 buildings on the 85-acre site will also be hooked up to a district-wide heating system so there’s no need for individual boilers, saving space and energy. Tenants’ rent pays for built-in broadband and satellite television while developers have also partnered with tech giant Samsung to provide all homes with smart fridges and connected appliances like washing machines and ovens.

Smart people inside smart buildings

Eindhoven University’s Atlas building has been transformed into a smart space by a team of architects, engineers and sustainability experts. Highly-insulating double glazing and interior sun blinds help to keep the heat out during the day and provide insulation at night – a similar effect to cavity wall insulation. The huge windows also slide outwards to cool and ventilate the building.

The heating itself is controlled by a campus-wide geothermal system, with 500-megawatt p/h solar panels covering the majority of the building – reducing the carbon emissions by about 80%. App-controllable LED lighting is also installed throughout the university, enabling students and academics to work in an environment they find most suitable.

Award winner

Tech company Spaceti picked up an award at MIPIM 2019 for its presence analytics software helping to transform buildings into smart places. Spaceti’s sensor-driven platform analyses data to help buildings run more smoothly – from checking how many available chairs there are in workspace environments and how many car parking spaces are available outside to regulating temperatures and contacting people around the building through communication devices.

Spaceti works with a range of clients across Europe, having redefined working environments for organisations like Sweden’s real estate company Castellum, France’s outsourcing firm Sodexo or the Skoda Academy in the Czech Republic.

Assisted living

People living in German cities of Dortmund, Duisburg and Arnsberg are transforming their normal homes into smart homes – at the touch of a button.

The Smart Service Power project is aiding older people to continue living independently. Its innovative platform remotely monitors a person’s condition in real time and predict any potential deterioration in health through a series of sensors strategically placed around the home, or even on the person themselves. If the analytics reach a crucial point, medical help can be sent directly.

Not one building, but 15,000

How smart can one building be? How about serving 15,000 other buildings? The Low Carbon Energy Centre in Greenwich, London, houses technically advanced boilers and CHP that provide heat energy to businesses and homes. Not only environmentally sound but also an architectural masterpiece.

At MIPIM 2019, the project won the award for Best Industrial and Logistics Development. The 49-metre high structure is essentially an eye-catching chimney. The Optic Cloak, as it’s called, serves seven new neighbourhoods in one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration areas. The technology it uses is estimated to save up to 20,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Further afield

Looking outside Europe, Hong Kong-based Neoma have been praised for their cloud-based platform and app called Gaia, which is being used by a suite of hotels in the Far East.

Sensors on room keys show when guests enter rooms, with data communicated immediately to hotel staff on their mobile devices. The app sends operational recommendations or can directly operate on behalf of management to change settings in certain areas of the building.

The idea is to streamline and harmonise operational performance while giving guests a peaceful, personalised stay. Estimates show that Neoma’s platform could increase income by 5% - and the company itself says hotels can become eight times more cost effective if they use it.

Smart Fibre Infrastructure™ (SFI™)

Glide Residential’s SFI™ is a full fibre, landlord broadband solution that provides a fast and simple way to cable a building, specifically designed for the build-to-rent (BTR) sector. With SFI™, buildings are future-proofed for the next 25 years, as there are no restrictions on what can be delivered via fibre. SFI™ also enables the provision of many smart technology services such as Wi-Fi controlled lighting and heating, door entry, CCTV, digital signage, smart metering, and SkyQ. SFI™ helps add rental value, whilst reducing operational costs, and is designed with developers, landlords, and their residents in mind.

Managed Internet Service

With Glide Residential, you can also benefit from a fully managed internet service for private rented residents and fully managed internet solutions. What this means is everything is managed from the cabling, to launch, to ongoing 24/7/365 support. Complete managed broadband services from a single provider. The network is monitored around the clock to ensure everything is running smoothly, and each customer has their own dedicated service manager as one single point of contact to provide everything you need.

Get in touch with a member of our team to find out how we can enhance your build-to-rent (BTR) development. Call us on 03333 800 800 or drop us an email at, or find out more details on our website

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