Slashing Emissions with Smart Buildings

The intelligent buildings market is set to triple over the next decade, Navigant Research has predicted.

In a study examining the impact of the rise of ‘smart cities’, the organisation spoke to technology leaders, engineers, government agencies and various other industry experts. Policymakers are placing greater emphasis on curbing emissions and Navigant found buildings are a key factor in achieving these goals.

Drastic Improvements

A smart building can drastically improve efficiency by using sensors to collect data about how it is used. Settings for heating, air conditioning and lighting systems can be automatically adjusted, so less energy is wasted.

For local authorities around the world, this represents an opportunity not only to improve operation of their own buildings (more effective temperature and humidity control in libraries, for example), but also to meet broader objectives.

Navigant noted 70% of energy consumption in major cities – and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions – are attributable to buildings, and suggested a city can affect the market “as a regulator as well as a building owner”. As such, the global smart buildings for smart cities market, which is currently worth £2.7 billion, is expected to reach £7.8 billion by 2026.

Strong Incentives

By encouraging greater uptake of smart technology, cities improve their chances of meeting goals, staying competitive and improving public awareness of energy consumption.

But businesses, too, have strong incentives to consider how technology can help improve the workplace and reduce running costs. A recent report found simple changes to how existing energy controls are used could cut energy use by 30%.

Where smart technology is introduced, the effect is often profound, as in the case of one office building highlighted by Facility Executive. Optimising HVAC systems, through measures such as varying water flows and fan speeds, is saving over 360,000 gallons of water per year at the 220,000 sq ft site.

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