In this blog series, I focus on the importance of digitalization and connectivity in helping building owners and operators meet evolving sustainability and building health challenges. But first, allow me to introduce myself, which also offers a springboard to my first topic: achieving net-zero.
Previous to my new role as Senior Vice President of Digital Buildings for Schneider Electric, I spent several years in the world of industrial software and automation, including at Schneider Electric. I’ve helped our country organizations launch digital transformation solutions, including a partnership with AVEVA, where we are enabling our customers to achieve significant savings and be more efficient while supporting their sustainability goals.
My experience in industrial automation has confirmed the importance of open, connected, interoperable platforms to allow technologies to work together to solve the most challenging problems that organizations face daily. These characteristics are equally crucial for today’s buildings, with the challenge of achieving net-zero carbon as a prime example.
Connecting to net-zero
To keep global warming limited to 1.5°C, global emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050, as called for in the Paris Agreement. As buildings generate nearly 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions, owners and operators must find ways to achieve net-zero carbon as quickly as possible.
Schneider Electric believes that new and existing buildings need to immediately transition to all-electric and all-digital. This means converting all fossil-fuel-based loads – like heating – to more efficient electrical technologies. It also means using digitalization to enable the deeper insights and control needed to deliver sustainable, net-zero carbon buildings.
The challenge is making building data and automation work in a way that will help achieve these ambitious goals. This requires:
- Open systems that can talk to each other. When you truly integrate and connect systems that exchange information, you empower facility managers to make better decisions.
- Flexibility to adapt and respond to owners’ occupants’ and society’s needs both today and in the future.
- Unlocking the potential of available data.
Next-generation building management systems (BMS) meet these needs and create Buildings of the Future by offering more connectivity, interoperability, and intelligence. They help bring different systems and devices into a control center for building operations.
These integrated building systems:
- Leverage IoT connectivity to make valuable building data accessible, with visibility to how, where, and when energy is consumed.
- Offer advanced cloud-based analytics, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to convert that data into actionable information accessible through any device, thanks to being designed for mobility.
- Are not closed systems. Achieving net-zero carbon goals will require greater inputs and interoperability to help you make the right decisions and act on them. A closed system can’t deliver everything you need.
In the past, companies often sought to de-risk their solutions by seeking single-vendor, end-to-end approaches. This can be bad for innovation – you may get 80% of what you need but miss out on 20% of inventive approaches. An open system approach allows multiple stakeholders to interact and create more robust, novel solutions. It also allows others to develop applications for the platform.
An open BMS is the connectivity backbone that orchestrates data from different systems, providing a smart hub of intelligence and control. For net-zero goals, it needs to expand beyond the confines of a traditional BMS. More specifically, it will need to extend beyond the building since offsetting your building’s energy consumption often requires integrating renewable energy generation such as solar panels, geothermal, wind turbines, etc.
Next-generation BMS solutions are available today. Let’s look at one from Schneider Electric.
Open and Future-Proof BMS
EcoStruxure Building Operation 2022, part of the EcoStruxure Building ecosystem, now offers new levels of flexibility and scalability, helping monitor, manage, and optimize traditionally siloed systems.
- In addition to HVAC, power, lighting, security, and fire systems, the platform also integrates EV charging stations, microgrids, and renewable energy sources.
- It can integrate with various smart, connected devices – such as IoT-enabled room sensors – to continuously gather insights on environmental comfort and occupant well-being.
- It offers API tools that enable continuous expansion of capabilities, from integrating elevators to Outlook schedules. Industry-leading cybersecurity ensures all of these connections and integrations are secure.
- The platform interprets data to help you drive sustainability, operational efficiency, and occupant comfort.
- Built-in tagging tools and standards make it easier to understand the data you already have and new sources you may soon need.
- And of course, industry-leading compliance and cybersecurity features help ensure resiliency and peace of mind
From big-picture views to zooming into granular details, your facility team will get full visibility and control over what is going on in your building today while adapting to tomorrow’s needs. Furthermore, our global channel of trained and certified EcoXpert™ partners apply their expertise to ensure systems are installed and perform as intended for maximum building performance and efficiency.