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Adoption of smart technologies and circular economy performance of buildings

Abimbola Oluwakemi Windapo (Construction Economics and Management, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
Alireza Moghayedi (Construction Economics and Management, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Article publication date: 27 March 2020

Issue publication date: 4 September 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the use of intelligent technologies in buildings and whether the use of smart technologies impacts the circular economy performance of buildings in terms of energy and water consumption, their marginal cost and the management decision time and quality, for building management companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is initiated through the detailed build-up of the proposition that employs a systematic literature review and adopts the case study research design to make a cross-case analysis of the information extracted from data. The data are derived from the operating costs of two buildings in which most advanced smart technologies are used in Cape Town and interviews with their facility managers. These data provide two research case studies. The results of the investigation are then analysed and linked back to the literature.

Findings

The results of the research suggest that the implementation of smart technologies to create intelligent infrastructure is beneficial to the circular economy performance of buildings and the time taken for management decisions. The results of the study have proven that the impact of smart technologies on the circular economy performance of buildings is positive, as it lowers the cost of utilities and decreases the time required for management decisions.

Research limitations/implications

The research reported in this paper is exploratory, and due to its limited sample size, its findings may not be statistically generalizable to the population of high-occupancy buildings in Cape Town, which incorporate smart infrastructure technologies within their building management systems (BMSs). Also, the empirical data collected were limited to the views and opinions of the interviewees, and the secondary data were obtained from the selected buildings.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that investment in smart technologies within buildings is of significant value and will improve the circular economy performance of buildings in terms of low energy and water use, and effective management decisions.

Social implications

The results imply that there would be more effective maintenance decisions taken by facilities managers, which will enable the maintenance of equipment to be properly monitored, problems with the building services and equipment to be identified in good time and in improved well-being and user satisfaction.

Originality/value

The study provides evidence to support the concept that advanced smart technologies boost performance, the time required for management decisions and that they enable circularity in buildings. It supports the proposition that investment in the more advanced smart technologies in buildings has more positive rewards.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) towards this research is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at, are those of the authors and are not necessarily to be attributed to the NRF. The authors would like to acknowledge, with thanks, the assistance of the following people in conducting the survey: Taariq Chiecktey, Natheem Isaacs and Mohamed Rajab.

Citation

Windapo, A.O. and Moghayedi, A. (2020), "Adoption of smart technologies and circular economy performance of buildings", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 585-601. https://doi.org/10.1108/BEPAM-04-2019-0041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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