Elliot Chmielinski is the channel manager, projects for Somfy UK. Elliot joined Somfy around 18 months ago and has a background in the solar shading industry.

Elliot works with the UK based Projects team delivering intelligent solar shading control systems for commercial projects. He has worked on large scale projects in a number of sectors, such as education, retail and office; his focus is on how dynamic solar shading control solutions can actively contribute to buildings delivering a much better experience for their occupants, when it comes to wellbeing, comfort and productivity. Elliot actively works with building owners, developers and designers to promote early engagement on shading to ensure the right solution is specified early in the design process, to ensure the best possible contribution to energy efficiency and sustainability.

How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?

Quite fortuitously to be honest. After completing my undergraduate degree (and not knowing what I wanted to do) I got an opportunity at KONE. As the market leader in the elevator industry, advancing technology was a key driver of the business. This gave me the appetite to work with ‘smart products’ and I find myself doing that now at Somfy. 

What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?

Technology is always advancing so it’s a fast-paced industry. Smart buildings can help to improve people’s wellbeing as well as provide a positive impact for the environment so it makes it a rewarding area to work in. 

Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?

Technology is always advancing so I would always say watch this space. One adoption we are seeing in the commercial space is the use of building services apps, especially in big shared commercial space. Apps which allow you to access the building, book your gym session, order a coffee, and control your blinds. 

What services does your company offer?

Somfy started as a manufacturer of tubular motors. Today we offer a wide range of solutions in Smart Home and Smart Buildings. One of our most exciting areas is Dynamic Solar Shading. We have a range of building controls that can help deliver energy efficiencies and an improvement in wellbeing in buildings by assisting to control daylight and temperature through shading.. Somfy is at the forefront of helping meet those challenges through controlling the daylight entering the building.

Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?

I think so yes. Architects and designers are well-aware of the challenges in this area. As the next generation becomes more active in the climate debate, this will continue to transfer into regulations. At Somfy we have solutions to offer now that will help the industry adapt before the pressure to change has arrived.

What are the benefits of a smart building?

Smart buildings have numerous benefits, but a couple of key ones are as follows:

They can help to reduce the buildings energy consumption which provides both wellbeing and cost saving benefits to the building owner and occupants, whilst not forgetting the contribution to key environmental drivers. The smart technology allows for predictive maintenance to take place, so that the buildings equipment can work efficiently reducing any potential downtime. Also, a smart building can improve the buildings overall efficiency by using methods for space optimisation, typically by using sensors and capturing data. For example, if an occupancy sensor notes a space is unoccupied, the smart system can ensure lights are off, heating/cooling is off, and shading may come down (to keep heat in the building).

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

That’s a tough question and probably one which I can’t provide a definitive answer to. I am extremely lucky to have a network of influential people who have supported me throughout my journey so far. 

What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?

I’m always asked, ‘What is dynamic solar shading’. To be fair, it’s a good question as in the UK dynamic solar shading is in its infancy in comparison to Europe, USA and Australasia. The answer, Dynamic solar shading is a solution which uses technology to automate and control external and/or internal solar shading devices such as screens, blinds, and shades by means of an intelligent building control system. It receives real-time input from sensors, such as sun, wind and temperature and combines this with pre-set data and thresholds based on the requirements from both facility managers and tenants.

What are the best/worst things about your job?

People are the best thing, without a doubt. I am extremely lucky to lead a team of expert individuals who make my job very enjoyable. Being able to develop people’s skills, see them flourish and generate results is extremely rewarding.

The worst thing would probably be when we are unsuccessful on a new business opportunity. Whilst it’s a great learning experience, I am fiercely competitive, and I would be lying if I didn’t say it hurt me!

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Always be open to learn. 

What living person do you admire and why?

A tough question to answer. I admire many people in my life: my parents, friends, and work colleagues.

However, my wife would have to top any list. She’s such an inspirational person. I owe a lot to her for the support she’s always given me, motivating me but also keeping me grounded. We have recently had our 1st child and I have a whole new level of admiration for the her.

Where would you most like to live?

I wouldn’t change where I currently live as this is home. However, I would love to have three ‘weekend apartments’ as well. These would be in Central London (overlooking the Thames), Barcelona (overlook las ramblas) and Bristol (overlooking the harbour).

What is your favourite book?

Great question. I am not sure I have an outright favourite but recently I read ‘Goals’ by Gianluca Vialli which is ninety short success stories of people who have gone through challenging situations. It’s a great read and extremely motivational. 

How do you relax?

Not easily as I am not the best at switching off from work. I enjoy exercise and in particular running. Watching and playing sport (cricket, football ,golf) as well as spending quality time with my family. 

What sports team do you support?

There is only one team worth supporting and that’s Bristol City. I am a big football fan and fortunate to support such a great club! 

What is your desert island disk?

As an avid listener to desert island disks this question has been pondered many times. I am an avid music listener and record collector so picking one disk is very hard. I will slightly cheat and say The Stones Rose LP and therefore I get multiple tracks on the disk. 

What is your ideal holiday?

A mixture of two destinations. Something city based, with great restaurants, sights, and history. Followed by a beach and relaxation to properly chill out.