Smart Buildings and Sustainability: The Winning Combination
August 4, 2020
In today’s world, we often hear the word, sustainability. Not just a buzz word, sustainability is a growing trend in the building marketplace with an increasingly important role in business. The UN has defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” With many proposed solutions on how companies and organizations can become sustainable, the market has been flooded with different products and innovations to work toward a greener future.
One area where sustainability has become especially important is within the buildings industry. As a large consumer of both energy and physical space, buildings, and the costs to operate them has been under scrutiny in recent years due to negative environmental impacts from their operations. However, there have been many innovations in the field of building operations including the introduction of IoT and PoE technology to decrease energy consumption and decrease costs for companies while creating a more sustainable future.
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One of the areas which can contribute to high energy consumption and electric costs is lighting. The traditional fluorescent lighting commonly found in buildings across the world operates with high costs and high energy consumption. Many companies are making the change to the more efficient and sustainable LED lighting. Igor shares this commitment to the shift to LED lighting and has created a lighting controls platform which is compatible with LED lighting. Through Igor’s lighting controls system, building occupants can control the lighting in individual spaces to adjust to levels most comfortable for them. With the ability to personally control lighting and technology capable of turning on and off lights based on occupancy, Igor’s technology leads to significant energy savings and increases the sustainability of buildings. In previous residential projects, Igor’s PoE lighting technology led to an 80% reduction in energy costs annually. This decrease in energy costs allows this money to be allocated elsewhere to benefit other building operations areas and parts of organizations.
Data is an important aspect of increasing the sustainability of buildings through building automation systems. With an Igor Smart Enabled Building, there is the possibility to track energy consumption by area, engage in temperature control, humidity tracking, CO2 monitoring, and track and improve air quality. This technology collects data in each of these areas and allows smart building decisions to be made that save energy consumption as well as operations dollars. The data available can help organizations determine areas where their energy efficiency can be improved and can lead to a more accurate ability to engage in building benchmarking.
Building benchmarking is “the practice of comparing the measured performance of a device, process, facility, or organization to itself, its peers, or established norms, with the goal of informing and motivating performance improvement” and has been increasingly important in the push for more sustainable business practices. Using building benchmarking can help companies and buildings achieve certain energy ratings and certifications such as an Energy Star Certification which is awarded to top energy efficient buildings and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certifications (LEED) awarded to leaders in the green building and sustainability space. Igor products including sustainable cabling systems can help buildings achieve these certification goals through more efficient building automation systems.
Retrofits vs. New Builds
With the construction of new buildings comes the opportunity for these new builds to be industry leaders in sustainability. With Igor-enabled PoE technology through the award winning Nexos platform, new builds can be better optimized for energy efficiency and sustainability through the installation of Igor nodes and hardware.
There is also the opportunity to make current buildings more sustainable through retrofitting with IoT solutions. Working with the existing framework of buildings to create more efficient building systems, Igor’s technology can connect various systems throughout the building under one platform. Systems such as HVAC, lighting and temperature can all be controlled through the Nexos platform to create an efficient building where data driven decisions can be made to make better use of building resources. Retrofits are an option in all types of buildings including commercial buildings, hotels and even data centers.
Credits and Assistance
There are numerous opportunities for buildings to become more sustainable and energy efficient through grants and assistance. Government entities such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, offer state and local energy efficiency programs which help business make energy efficiency upgrades. The Department of Energy supports business small and large alike through grants and financing programs in their efforts to become more efficient. Other private organizations engaged in the push for sustainable business also offer funds to buildings looking to improve their operations to become greener.
Protecting the world’s resources will be essential for the continued success of future generations and sustainable practices chart the right path toward a bright future for all. Now it is more important than ever for organizations to strengthen their sustainability practices and do their part to preserve resources for the future. Using smart building solutions, buildings can greatly reduce their energy consumption, cutting energy costs, leading to significant savings, and increasing sustainable practices.