Achieving major energy savings while transforming your office building into a sustainable, healthy environment is much easier than you think.

January 6, 2023
40% of global carbon emissions are caused by buildings and construction, while 30% of energy consumed by corporate real estate is wasted. There's no more time to lose — industry executives must take responsibility now to reverse these trends. The good news is that the path to Net Zero is actually an inexpensive, high-potential business model that you can launch today!
This is the second article of our four-part series on revolutionary new strategies and technology in corporate real estate for achieving true Operational Efficiency. In case you missed it, check out part one here.

The Three Pillars of Operational Efficiency

Understanding where your offices and buildings are incurring unnecessary costs in terms of energy and other utility consumption can lead to 10-30% in energy savings.

Understanding how to significantly improve the ability to leverage excess building space and equipment, also reducing costs, especially during non-working hours.

Understanding how factors such as air quality, cleanliness, direct sunlight and other building and workspace factors contribute to employee psychology and overall productivity.

Have you ever walked or driven past an office building at night and wondered why and how much companies were paying to keep the lights on with nobody there? If so, congratulations, you’re beginning to see the light!

In fact, at EDGE Next, we have measured instances like these where up to 40% of a building’s energy consumption occurs during non-working hours.

When it comes to energy waste, this is just the tip of the iceberg, especially when employees enter the picture. With the workforce increasingly demanding Flex-work capabilities, alternating between home and office, the pressure has only compounded to implement alternative energy sources as well as massively improve the way we manage the energy we do have at our disposal.

Fortunately, there are examples of companies around the globe committed to a building transformation strategy called Net Zero — a framework within the larger ESG movement to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions. With the latest technologies, businesses can quite literally turn crisis into opportunity by cutting energy costs, reducing waste and contributing to humanity’s path to a sustainable future.

We at EDGE Next are at the frontlines, educating stakeholders on how to monitor building performance and leverage actionable data for true Operational Efficiency. The map of stakeholders is particularly complex in corporate real estate, so we work closely with executives and facility management teams to implement the simplest and most effective technology.

In this article, we’ll cover the best practices for identifying and reducing waste with innovative, easy and inexpensive Smart Building solutions.

Understanding your building’s consumption patterns

The first step in reducing energy consumption is to acknowledge the fact that your offices are incurring unnecessary costs, even if you don’t know how, and to be ready to do something about it. The second step is to gain total visibility on all the trends, factors, figures and statistics that provide a thorough understanding of how far you are from optimal Operational Efficiency. It is only then that you can take action to drive positive results.

So, let’s assume you’re ready to begin your investigation into exactly what your building is doing. To understand performance, we pose some basic questions:

  • How are people using spaces?
  • When and where is energy consumed?
  • Do you have accurate data to report on CO2 emissions?
  • How are you tracking progress toward ESG goals?

To answer these, we need to monitor all the sources of energy consumption, such as heating, lighting, tenant plug loads, and correlating factors, like average outdoor temperature and ventilation, to reveal actionable data.

Actionable insights for building transformation

How does an operation tangibly retrieve building performance data?

With EDGE Next, for example, the first step is to create a virtual representation, or Digital Twin, of the entire building in order to understand the structure, spaces and number floors, rooms, etc.

We then install and connect a wide array of IoT sensors and devices to existing systems throughout the premises to identify sources and pick up messages. If required, we work with your team to integrate one of our certified sensor provider partners.

Resulting data is sent to the backend of our platform, which integrates into a company’s BMS, with no additional upgrade, automations, capital adjustments, workflow changes or teams necessary. Furthermore, unlike a BMS, the platform enables correlation between different data sources, visualizing building performance in a whole new way.

Once the Digital Twin and the platform compiles, deciphers and analyzes the data, it is then visualized on the frontend through an intuitive, customer-facing dashboard. Information on building and office performance can even be displayed on screens mounted on office walls and via employee apps in order to engage the entire operation. This empowers each individual — from C-suite to portfolio management, facility operators and even employees — to play their own role in transforming their building.

For example, relevant stakeholders can view energy by Source (district, electric) and Use (Heating, Cooling, Electricity) in terms of kilowatts and kilograms per square meter. You can monitor your carbon footprint and even view energy consumption forecasts. In addition, the dashboard shows how much energy is consumed where and when — by room and floor; times and days of the week; plug loads, lights and screens. This is incredibly useful for seeing and understanding how your building is incurring significant costs even during times of no occupancy and then taking action!

Finally, EDGE Next building experts work with you and your facilities management team to provide actionable insights to improve your energy footprint.

Once your new Smart Building solution is up and running, your building is well on its way to producing real results, such as:

  • 5-30% in energy savings
  • 11-69 kWh/m2/yr in reduced energy consumption
  • Accurate benchmarking and reporting on your CO2 reduction goals

Within months, in one case study in particular, EDGE Next was able to help a company achieve:

  • 90% reduction in cooling consumption
  • 15% reduction in heating consumption

That translates to huge savings that, if replicated throughout the corporate real estate market, would put a significant dent in global carbon emissions. Furthermore, by tracking environmental data, we can also improve the employee experience by addressing factors affecting their overall wellbeing.

Net Zero — the responsible and profitable direction

The work has just begun for the corporate real estate stakeholders. Only approximately 5% of the world’s office buildings are deploying technology so as to be considered truly Intelligent, which means we need to grow our movement to reach a critical mass of committed executives, facility and real estate portfolio managers, etc., on the path to Net Zero globally.

By deploying technology available right now to gain visibility on your building’s Energy, Occupancy and Wellbeing performance, your company can make sustainability not only the morally correct choice, but a more profitable one.

Stay tuned for the next articles in our series. We’ll be deep diving into how companies can get even more actionable insights through data within the three pillars of Energy, Occupancy and Wellbeing.
The EDGE Next Mission
For over 25 years, our parent company EDGE, a leader in sustainable real estate development, whose portfolio and Net Zero initiative are dedicated to putting people and the planet first by building a zero carbon world, have understood the need and opportunity to deliver the right technologies to the right areas. Thus, EDGE Next’s Smart Building Solution was born.We believe that every relevant stakeholder at the top of executive management — CFOs, portfolio managers, facility managers, HR, etc. — has the power to act. Once we realize how our building spaces are performing, we can trigger initiatives that improve all aspects under the banner of “Operational Efficiency” — for the sake of our companies, global business and humanity itself.

To facilitate such a new and innovative process, we have given extensive thought into how customers can both understand and onboard the technology as easily, clearly and seamlessly as possible. We strive to help our stakeholders realize that there are absolutely zero reasons to not try our platform. This is why we integrate our Intelligent solution into your BMS with no long-term commitment, ready to start immediately to see results. We’re confident that once you see the quick results, a whole new world of building and office management opportunities will reveal itself.

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