How to transform your facilities today into Buildings of the Future

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The recent IPCC report paints a grim picture for the global climate unless countries work harder to meet aggressive emissions reduction targets. Yet, the fact remains that the construction and operation of buildings represent 40% of mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. Though many new buildings are designed to be ‘greener,’ it is simply not enough.

Your new and existing buildings need to be more digital and more electric to meet the challenges your business and the planet are facing. In this post, I will talk about how today’s technology enables what Schneider Electric defines as Buildings of the Future, with very real examples of smart buildings that vastly outperform their peers. One of these buildings, IntenCity, will be a showpiece of our upcoming Innovation Summit World Tour 2021.

Buildings of The Future

The path to a Building of the Future starts today

Let me first be clear about our vision for Buildings of the Future. We believe that all buildings must transform to become more sustainable, efficient, resilient, and people-focused. Every type of organization that builds, owns, operates, or occupies any facility needs to consider and invest in these four pillars of performance. Not tomorrow – today.

Why? Because no matter what kind of operation you have, how your buildings perform has a significant impact on the productivity of your people, the success of your business, and the health of the planet. And our experience has shown that more digital, more electric buildings – new and retrofit – will deliver the smart tools and higher performance your team needs to meet any challenge. These steps will help you go beyond today’s industry standards and best practices to help you anticipate the future. And it is possible with typically only a 3% increase in CapEx with payback in a few years thanks to significant operational savings.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that commercial buildings waste 30% of the energy consumed. Smart, IoT-based building technologies can help you actively manage your energy, identifying opportunities to cut waste and automate improvements, such as adjusting heating and cooling in response to occupancy, for example.

Sustainability and efficiency are very closely related. By replacing fossil-fuel-based heating with electricity and adding on-site renewables, you can further improve efficiency. At the same time, you reduce your carbon footprint, comply with regulations, and support ESG reporting. Producing, storing, and sharing green energy with the grid will also reduce your energy bills while you take a big step toward meeting your net-zero commitments.

You need to respond faster to increasing natural and man-made disasters. A cyber-secure, connected power, and building infrastructure will help your facilities team keep on top of conditions, whether they are on-site or remote. Intelligent alerts and analytics help them respond quickly to any crisis to keep power and building operations running.

Powerful AI-driven apps make sense of big data, helping you do more with limited resources and optimize how your buildings are used. Dynamically manage or reconfigure space and amenities in response to the new everyday demands while ensuring a healthy workplace by adjusting ventilation based on indoor air quality data for each area. Keep employees engaged with personalized apps that keep them safe and give them control of their environment.

These are just a few examples of proven solutions available today and being used in buildings around the globe. These are not just aspirations, and these are established technologies delivering accurate results.

IntenCity: the Building of the Future that is here today

IntenCity, located in Grenoble, France, is one of the newest Schneider Electric buildings and illustrates our vision of Buildings of the Future: it is ALL ELECTRIC (including heating and cooling systems), digital, sustainable, and people-centric. It is a place where technology, data, and innovation come together to create a more connected, flexible, intuitive, and intelligent space better for the people who work here – and for the environment.

With EcoStruxure™ solutions and an end-to-end digital architecture, IntenCity represents the consolidation of multiple sites to reduce its energy footprint while creating a smart building that supports world-class innovation and the well-being of employees.

The site generates over 920 MWh of energy per year using 4,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels, two wind turbines, and on-site energy storage. Through a unique microgrid partnership, energy is also shared with neighboring buildings and the city of Grenoble.

The resilience of the building’s power infrastructure is supported by real-time visibility of power flow and circuit capacity. At the same time, smart relays and breakers help isolate faults, shed non-critical loads, and automatically transfer to alternate power sources when needed.

The building captures over 60,000 data points every 10 minutes, with sensors automatically reducing energy in unoccupied spaces. IntenCity learns and adapts to its environments, allowing proactive and autonomous operation and maintenance with increased efficiency. Over 1600 employees enjoy flexible workspaces with optimized air quality, lighting, and temperature.

IntenCity’s objective is to achieve LEED Platinum certification with a score of 103 – which will make it the highest LEED platinum score building in the world. And the result? IntenCity consumes only 37 kWh per m2 per year, just 11% of the average consumption of buildings in Europe of 330 kWh per m2 per year. And when we reach our energy efficiency targets, IntenCity will be net-zero energy, producing as much electricity as it consumes.

Join us at Innovation Summit World Tour 2021 to discover the future of energy management and automation for your business. The event kicks off on October 12 with a keynote from our Chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire and our World Premiere innovation showcase that will feature a close look at IntenCity. Register now and join us on the path to sustainability and Buildings of the Future.

Global100 Schneider Electric has been recognized as the world’s most sustainable corporation in 2021 by Corporate Knights Global 100 Index.


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