Although there is growing recognition of the environmental and economic benefits of smart buildings, there is still significant untapped potential for such constructions in Mexico. However, government support is needed to accelerate their development.
Luis Triay, Director of the Smart Buildings division within ABB’s Electrification business area, believes there is a favorable outlook in Mexico due to increased demands from companies to operate with zero emissions, city decarbonization efforts, and nearshoring that will require more and better spaces.
ABB in Mexico expects double-digit growth in this business niche, where intelligent systems will play a dominant role in the future.
However, for this to happen, Triay believes that the Mexican government must provide support, including regulations mandating the construction of smart buildings, similar to what is already happening with earthquake-resistant building codes.
“The government needs to do more; it is investing very little in sustainability, and we need support. We have participated in forums where the idea is to increase collaboration to raise awareness and provide incentives to reduce carbon footprint, or even implementing penalties and standards so that newly constructed buildings must comply with regulations, just as we have worked on earthquake-resistant buildings,” he said in an interview with Forbes Mexico.
Although he admitted it is challenging to predict when these intelligent systems might be widely adopted in Mexico’s buildings, not only in offices but also in mixed-use centers, housing, hotels, hospitals, and more, Triay estimated that it could take more than a decade.
The global trend toward smart buildings continues, and Mexico will not be an exception. It is estimated that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, which will drive urban growth and the development of smart buildings.
Luis Triay points out that nearshoring is already becoming a reality in Mexico, especially in Nuevo León, where they are witnessing increased activity due to the arrival of factories and foreign workers for these projects. Consequently, in addition to industrial spaces and offices, there is a growing demand for hotels and housing developments.
In addition to nearshoring, ABB also sees an opportunity in implementing smart systems in existing buildings.
“We can make updates at different levels, depending on what people want, but it can be done. That’s a big advantage. Sometimes people think it has to be a new building, and we have to be involved from the project’s inception for this to happen, but that’s not correct. There are ways to retrofit older buildings,” said Triay.
For Triay, the most critical elements in a building classified as smart are sensors that control temperature, lighting, energy, water, as well as motorized blinds and windows.
All of the above is linked to artificial intelligence, as it begins to monitor these behaviors and learns to establish routines.