Sustainability

The Electrification of Buildings and the Push Toward Integrated Systems

The Electrification of Buildings and the Push Toward Integrated Systems

Ready to ‘decarbonate’ your buildings and infrastructure?

The time to change the trajectory of climate change starts with today’s buildings and the technology we need is finally here!

It all begins with the Smart Building. The Smart Building concept has been in progress for several years. Until recently, advancements have mostly focused on tenant user convenience and the low-hanging fruit of cost efficiencies. However, a new chapter in the Smart Building story is approaching, where buildings are taking on new roles and are driving new business models, sometimes voluntarily and other times in response to regulation.

From a regulatory standpoint, buildings are following the path of cars and are in the early stages of evolution to complete electrification and away from gas (and fossil fuels, in general). This represents a significant opportunity to drive energy efficiency and carbon neutrality.

The automotive industry has set a trend for building owners to follow suit – both voluntarily and by regulation, a potent combination that will help streamline and accelerate decarbonization efforts.  (see New York City bill that bans new buildings from using gas infrastructure starting in 2023).

Buildings of the Future

To make building electrification work, developers will need to rely on sensor technologies and building management systems. These have been made widely available thanks to businesses like Schneider Electric, whose goal is to make the invisible visible in an effort to monitor, identify, and report upon decarbonization initiatives.

When electrification is combined with renewable energy systems, such as geothermal energy and solar energy, we can reliably drive energy supply decarbonization, process electrification, and demand optimization.

The use of small sensors will make it possible to gather data, analyze information, and regulate the use of resources such as lighting systems and HVAC based on user-defined parameters as well as environmental conditions.

To make the large-scale decarbonization of buildings possible, developers will need to rely on IoT (internet of things) devices for greater functionality. This is beneficial in many ways including:

  • Improved efficiency
  • Higher quality of living
  • Higher productivity
  • Better energy savings
  • Reducing energy waste

Furthermore, the electrification of buildings makes it possible for different stakeholders, including maintenance and IT teams, to effectively communicate with each other in the background. Through electrification, smart buildings will see a substantial increase in the flow of information, as well as significantly reduced overhead costs.

More importantly, smart building infrastructure allows the use of information that can be utilized in data science applications.

Fulfilling the Requirements of Carbon Neutrality

In order to achieve carbon neutrality, a smart building must utilize newer technologies that focus on efficiencies. These technologies include:

  • Building management systems (BMS)
  • Integrated systems
  • Miniaturized sensors
  • Machine learning technology
  • Digital services

Schneider Electric has pledged to be net carbon zero by 2030 and is rapidly paving the path with numerous projects, including a newly constructed building of the future, IntenCity, based in Grenoble, France which generates 970 megawatt-hours of energy per year and uses 10 times less energy than average European buildings.

With innovation at its core, IntenCity represents Schneider’s vision of the new era of an all-digital, all-electric world. The building leverages 4,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels, two wind turbines, and onsite energy storage, and shares energy with surrounding buildings and the city of Grenoble through a unique microgrid partnership.

Wrapping Up

Businesses and governments alike are rapidly moving towards the decarbonizing of buildings and infrastructure, regardless of regulator interest. While the journey may seem long, we have been equipping ourselves with the most latent systems and technology to make decarbonization a feat we can all work towards and achieved.

Thanks to Schneider Electric, the technology for decarbonizing buildings is now widely available. Let’s go for it.

Schneider Electric is playing its part in making this happen with the combination of power, building management systems, and digital services.


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