Undeniably, technology plays a significant role in making a building into one of the best-performing smart buildings by using cutting-edge IoT technologies, powerful software, and AI to create a healthier, more comfortable occupant experience. It also improves employee productivity. However, after all the significance of using IOT in creating healthier buildings, yet just 1% of buildings are classified as “smart buildings.”
It is of no wonder that forward-looking companies worldwide are embracing digital transformation to raise the IQ of their existing building portfolios to save energy, shrink their carbon footprint, and reduce operating costs. All this is possible only through a new IoT- and software-enabled discipline called enterprise performance management. This discipline is a suite of critical applications to improve operations, safety and sustainability for operators, occupiers, and investors alike. Enterprise performance management is a single source of truth — a record system — for all things building-related that is the digital backbone for applications.
It is admittedly a big job to bring older buildings up to speed. After all, most of the world’s commercial buildings were designed, built, and equipped years or even decades ago. Commercial buildings come in different shapes and sizes. High-rise office buildings, hospitals, industrial plants, retail stores, schools and hotels are among the kinds of structures categorized as commercial buildings. Each type of building has unique characteristics, but they all have one thing in common: They consume energy, which in the current scenario is a bigger concern considering the high international pricing market along with the depleting resources coupled with the population influx.
Basic comfort systems account for most companies’ real estate energy consumption, whether a company operates a few buildings or a portfolio of dozens, hundreds, or thousands. Up to 50% of a typical building’s energy load goes to running its HVAC systems, according to a study conducted by the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. And commercial buildings waste as much as 30% of the energy they use, which is also validated by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Reducing buildings’ energy consumption and environmental impact, even by a fraction of a percent, will boost a company’s operating efficiency, sustainability commitments and bottom line and reduce the effect of human activity on planet Earth.
Companies routinely invest in energy-saving initiatives for a single building or a single type of system, for example, an automated lighting system for an office building. But only so many tweaks can be made to an older building before the law of diminishing returns takes hold. To be energy efficient it is of paramount importance to take an enterprise-wide view of the building concerning energy efficiency and sustainability with enterprise performance management.
Optimizing building performance and occupant experience on a company level requires a uniform view extending across an organization’s entire building portfolio. This single source of truth is essential because it provides a common record of all the factors that create a positive experience for building occupants and changes in the organization’s energy consumption and sustainability. This broader picture also helps organizations compare buildings in the portfolio and share best practices companywide.
With the digital disruption in the industry, smart buildings are using technologies such as AI to analyze vital data points and make real-time adjustments to optimize energy performance without affecting occupant comfort. It can make changes and adapt to indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, and air quality; building occupancy by zone; weather forecasts; past performance markers; and fluctuating energy prices. AI helps make these fact-based decisions in real-time because the necessary calculations are too complex for the human mind. Therefore, applicability of IOT will help in optimizing the overall process.
Energy consumption for commercial buildings enters a whole new ballgame with the applicability of IoT and digital transformation. Of course, ROI is always a consideration from the investor’s point of view, but it’s almost always a better investment to bring existing buildings up to speed than to tear them down and start over.
Using IoT-driven strategies, like enterprise performance management, enables owners and operators to save energy, reduce costs, enhance bottom-line performance, and meet the sustainability expectations of government agencies, employees, customers and neighbors in the community.