Barrier-Free Living: How Building Automation Systems Can Improve Accessibility

Published on: September 19, 2023

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Technological advances, including building automation systems, can help improve accessibility, safety, and comfort for people with disabilities.

Automated doors are just one way that building automation systems can help make your space open and accessible to all.

Automated doors are just one way that building automation systems can help make your space open and accessible to all.

Building automation raises the convenience and safety factors for most users, but when it comes to people with disabilities, the safety and independence provided by smart automation in the home or office can be life-changing. 

“These technologies help bridge the gap and create more inclusive environments where individuals with disabilities can participate more fully in daily life,” explained Ken Watt, co-owner and director of business development for Kimco Controls.

The benefits of building automation for people with disabilities

The benefits of building automation systems are a huge step forward in creating barrier-free environments for building occupants of all abilities. 

Accessibility: Automated doors and ramps

Using automated controls to operate doors and wheelchair-accessible ramps allows people with mobility impairments to navigate public spaces easily. These features promote inclusivity, ensuring that everyone—regardless of ability—can enter and exit facilities without assistance.

Independence: lighting automation systems

Automated controls can provide independence and ease some daily efforts that may present a challenge. Automated lighting systems, for example, can be voice-activated or controlled through smartphone apps, creating independence at a person’s fingertips or voice. 

Safety: Automated fire doors

If an emergency strikes, building automation systems can help keep all of your occupants—regardless of their physical ability—safe. In the event of a fire, automated fire doors can automatically close, helping to contain the spread of smoke and flames, providing extra time for individuals with mobility challenges to evacuate safely.

Energy Efficiency: Smart thermostats and climate controls

Some medical conditions can result in sensitivity to heat or cold. By utilizing smart thermostats and climate control systems, temperatures can be remotely adjusted or programmed to automatically maintain specific temperatures. 

Hygiene and convenience: Automated washrooms

Take the stress out of personal care tasks for some by installing automated toilets that feature bidets, self-cleaning functions or touchless flush. 

Sensory Assistance: aural and visual cues

Not everyone has the same sensory ability. Automated controls can incorporate a variety of sensory cues, such as audio announcements or flashing lights, to assist individuals with visual or auditory impairments in navigating public spaces or buildings.

Work with a people-first company that’s on the cutting edge of building automation, HVAC, and electrical in the Thompson-Okanagan. See how Kimco can help today.

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