Two new drivers for investment in smart buildings and sustainability

The release of ISO 50001 on 7 June, followed by the announcement of a collaboration between the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and Scientific Conservation signal significant opportunity for the Smart Building technologies market...

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The release of ISO 50001 on 7 June, followed by the announcement of a collaboration between the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and Scientific Conservation signal significant opportunity for the Smart Building technologies market because these new directives focus on continuous improvement for energy efficiency.

While the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the USGBC are voluntary certification authorities, their guidance in the market has historically been transformative in the commercial building space.

The new focus on ongoing energy management should drive investment in Smart Building technologies that overcome the gradual erosion of energy improvement that is common after the first commissioning—also known as energy drift.

These announcements are also good news for the sustainability movement as, inherently, continuous improvement of facilities management and energy conservation go hand-in-hand with sustainability efforts.
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On 7 June, the USGBC and Scientific Conservation announced their new partnership for developing applications that will be integrated into LEED Online for building owners to utilise the automated fault detection and predictive maintenance technology of SCIwatchTM.

The project aims to provide new tools to building owners for ensuring efficiency measures deployed in the LEED certification process provide sustained energy savings through the building lifecycle.

In addition the ISO released ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard on 17 June. The first building to receive the new certification was the Paris headquarters of Schneider Electric, known as Le Hive (a building we profiled as a case study in February).

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele put the new guidance in context explaining, “Energy is no longer a technical issue, but a management issue with an impact on the bottom line and the time to address the issue is now.”

The goal is to facilitate the integration of energy and business management to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. The standard provides a best practices framework or “Plan-Do-Check-Act process for continual improvement of the energy management system.”

These are two significant announcements from the perspective of vendors in the Smart Buildings market because they signal an increasing awareness of the value of ongoing building energy management - a shift from a mindset of investment in the kind of bricks and mortar energy efficiency investments that bring about the first tier of reductions in energy consumption.

Building owners need to refocus their facility management strategies on a long-term vision of energy management that integrates business and energy strategies in order to embark on the evolution to a Smart Building.

The guidance provided by certification bodies like ISO and the USGBC will support building owners by providing the framework of best practices that enable ongoing commissioning and pro-active energy management.

A truly Smart Building will be managed in concert with the kind of best practices outlined by ISO and likely the applications USGBC & SCI release, and will also meet broader sustainability goals because at the root of this intelligence is the convergence of strategies and management for the facility, its tenants, and business mission.

Posted by Casey Talon
Energy Efficiency/Demand Response, Sustainability

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