Smart building: 9 good reasons to optimize your building energy management

Building energy management  is a key issue in energy transition policies. Real estate professionals are subject to regulatory obligations such as the tertiary sector decree or the BACS decree.

The shift of buildings towards a smart building model is emerging as the solution to meet:

  • environmental issues

    performance and profitability issues of a real estate portfolio

Smart building refers to the set of digital technologies that enable the collection of useful data about a building and the communication of this data to those who need it.

Innovation in the building sector has primarily focused on materials and construction methods. Digitalization opens up new perspectives in building management.

For example, the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) field broadens the collection of data on key building indicators, equipment operation, energy consumption and occupant usage. Connected to a data processing and analysis solution, control of the building to improve energy performance and the comfort of its occupants is made possible.

Are you wondering about the benefits of smart building? Are you wondering what you stand to gain by equipping your buildings?

In this article, we compile 9 good reasons to make your buildings more intelligent.

To comply with regulations: tertiary decree, BACS decree

Improving the energy performance of buildings is at the heart of the environmental and energy transition.

In France, the building sector is responsible for 45% of energy consumption and over a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Public policies therefore require a progressive reduction in energy consumption.

In the tertiary sector, the tertiary decree sets progressive targets for reducing energy consumption, up to 60% by 2050. The BACS decree also requires owners of commercial buildings to install building automation and control systems by January 1, 2025. In addition, the national low-carbon strategy sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In order to meet these obligations, service industry players must monitor their energy performance indicators. Under the tertiary sector decree, they must also declare their energy consumption data on ADEME’s OPERAT platform.

By adopting a smart building approach, the collection and sharing of your energy data is made easier. You can follow in real time the changes in your performance and your trajectory in relation to the regulatory objectives.

Monitor your energy consumption in real time

Reducing your energy consumption is a regulatory issue, but it is also a profitability issue. This is even more true at the scale of a real estate portfolio.  If you reduce your consumption in each of your buildings, the savings generated are substantial.

To optimize your energy consumption, you must first measure it precisely. The smart building allows you to monitor your consumption in real time. You can even set up alerts in case of energy drift on one of your sites.

Reduce your energy expenses

Energy performance is not just a regulatory issue. It is also a financial issue. Smart buildings are also an opportunity to reduce your buildings’ energy costs by improving your energy efficiency.

By taking advantage of smart data, you can consume energy more efficiently.

The smart building allows you not only to detect peaks in consumption but also to understand the causes. If the consumption peak is linked to faulty equipment, you can repair or replace it to reduce your consumption. The data collected and analyzed become decision support tools for your energy renovation work.

Energy management is no longer just reactive. It also becomes proactive thanks to the connected building. You can simulate your energy consumption by changing some variables, for example an equipment. This gives you predictions on your energy expenses and precise data to justify or invalidate an investment.

Finally, the smart building also allows you to collect data on occupant usage. Smart lighting, for example, is a way to save money by lighting rooms only when they are occupied.

Optimize equipment maintenance

The state of wear and tear of equipment has an impact on the energy performance of buildings. Energy losses, for example in a heating or ventilation system, result in higher energy consumption and expenses.

By installing sensors on your equipment, you can collect data on the wear and tear of your equipment. This allows you to perform predictive maintenance on your equipment. It is no longer necessary to schedule an annual visit, you can see directly when your equipment will need maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

Improve synergy between different energy carriers

The energy consumption of a building encompasses several energy vectors:

  • electricity
  • gas
  • water
  • heat

Traditionally, the energy system has operated on a siloed logic. Each energy vector operated with its own networks and actors and actions were poorly coordinated. Optimizations were done independently for each vector.

However, opportunities for energy savings lie precisely in the interactions between the vectors, for example the conversion of electricity into heat or gas.

The smart building makes it possible to collect and analyze multi-fluid data to obtain a global and decompartmentalized view of energy performance. This global vision allows to take advantage of synergies between vectors. It also encourages the integration of renewable energies into the building’s energy mix.

Optimize your building management costs

Real estate represents between 25 and 40% of a company’s assets. While rent accounts for 70% of these costs, the remaining 30% are related to building maintenance and occupant services.

Cost control is therefore a key issue for real estate professionals. In particular, energy expenses and maintenance costs are the subject of particular attention. The smart building offers concrete answers in terms of energy performance and predictive maintenance.

Smart buildings also make it possible to optimize certain services, such as the management of maintenance personnel. By adapting the maintenance schedule to the real needs of the building and its occupants, you also reduce your operating costs.

Reduce your environmental footprint

The smart building contributes to reducing the energy consumption of the property. It also facilitates the integration of renewable energies in a building stock. For example, it allows the impact of installing a solar self-consumption structure to be assessed in advance.

Connected buildings are therefore a perfect response to the challenges of the energy transition. For actors, it is not only a way to meet regulatory requirements but also a lever for CSR.

If you use a smart building management solution, you can, for example, publish reports for the public, partners or investors to demonstrate your commitment to the environment.

Improve occupant comfort and safety

Connected buildings make a significant contribution to the comfort of occupants.

Firstly, data management facilitates the automatic control of equipment. For example, in the case of smart lighting, sensors integrated into lighting systems can regulate brightness according to the occupancy of the room and the activity of the occupants.

In the same way, you can automatically adapt the temperature or the air circulation in the rooms. Thus, the smart building also helps you to ensure the health and comfort monitoring of the building and, in particular, the prevention of legionella risk.

Finally, the presence of sensors offers security, in particular to detect intrusions or a suspicious presence in the building.

Enhance the value of your real estate

The smart building is also a lever to increase the value of your real estate assets. To optimize your assets, you need to know the exact value of each site. Smart building data allows you to perform a detailed evaluation including:

  • the description of all materials and equipment installed in the buildings
  • information on the condition of each installation

This information makes it possible to determine the rehabilitation work to be planned and to calculate the corresponding investments to maintain the value of the stock.

The smart building also facilitates resale. You can easily share building data with potential buyers and highlight profitability opportunities.

Smart building meets the many challenges of real estate players: regulatory obligations, profitability, occupant comfort, asset valuation, etc.

To improve your data management and take full advantage of the digitalization of the building sector, you must not only expand the scope of your data collection. But you can also rely on a data efficiency solution like the N’Gage platform developed by Energisme.

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