Over the past 12 months we have been inundated with Net Zero Carbon commitments. Before I get into why I think this is partly delusional, I want to take a moment to clarify my position on the topic in general.
In our last blog about sustainable CRE, we looked at the value of investing in environmentally sustainable buildings. This time, we’re going to focus on one of the challenges of building a sustainable CRE portfolio: namely, how to ensure your tenants use your building in an environmentally-conscious way.Whether you are a CRE landlord, owner, investor or asset manager, this should be of interest to you. Why? Because the activities of occupiers could make up as much as 70-80% of a building’s total carbon footprint (source: EG). So even if you have a host of green building certifications and have installed super-efficient main building services , how your building performs depends significantly on how your tenants operate within it.This is known as the ‘'performance gap’: the difference between how a building should perform when it’s designed, and how it actually does perform when it’s occupied.
Last month, the BBP - whom we have been working with since 2016 (https://fabriq.space/blog/better-buildings-partnership-reebooted/) - officially announced its partnership with NABERS to bring their incredibly successful building performance rating standard to the UK. Currently operating in Australia and New Zealand, NABERS comes with a proven track record of bridging the performance gap between building design and in-use operational energy consumption.NABERS energy ratings measure and verify the actual energy use of existing buildings, providing a rating from 1-6 stars and helping building owners to accurately target, measure and communicate the energy performance of their buildings
The last blog in our Net Zero Carbon Buildings series covered five key energy analysis techniques — the ones we think you should all be using to start your journeys to net zero carbon. This time we’re moving on to talk about some of the data problems that often hamper progress, as well as ways you can overcome them.Frankly, it always amazes us that in the 21st century, energy and sustainability professionals are still having to struggle with inconsistent and poor quality data. But sadly, this is the reality.The technology has never been better: we live in an age of smart meters, sensors, IoT devices and Building Management Systems. Yet shockingly, in our experience, over 90% of building sensor data is never used. Why is that? Here are our thoughts.
Last week I shared a blog post about why I believe energy waste during non-operational hours is one of the most easily avoided forms of waste in buildings. This week, I’m deep-diving into the 4 step process to identifying energy waste during non-operational hours across your portfolio of buildings.
Degree days are the most underused performance metrics in energy data analysis. Simultaneously, they are widely misunderstood and therefore misused.Weather conditions are the most influential factor when it comes to the variability of energy use in buildings. Even in a moderate climate such as the UK’s, changes in the requirement for heating and cooling typically accounts for 50%-70% of the variation in usage over the course of a typical year. In other words, regardless of everything else that’s going on inside or outside our buildings, changes in weather account for nearly all fluctuations we see day to day, week to week or month to month. If you’re not going to use degree days for your energy data analysis, then you may as well be blindfolded. It would be like going on a diet but not tracking how much you eat.
There is very little doubt surrounding the fundamental role that energy efficiency plays in the success of commercial real estate making a return once the world reaches somewhere close to normal. Whether you refer to it as sustainability, energy efficiency or building optimisation, the need for us all to ‘run buildings better’ is increasing exponentially.There will be an understandable emphasis placed on healthy workplaces in the coming months but that can’t be at the expense of a building's buildings carbon footprint. Equally, businesses must do what they can to minimise excessive operational costs after months with little, or no revenue. With running costs associated with electricity, gas and water constituting up to 50% of a commercial building operating costs, efficiency measures are a viable cost-saving measure, but this can’t be at the expense of occupant well being. You see where I’m going with this…The three underlying driving factors of building optimisation are:
Data-driven insights from Internet of Things (IoT) devices are enabling energy and sustainability experts to make better-informed decisions like never before. Energy use within buildings is inherently variable, and until recently, even the brightest minds were in the dark when it came to explaining fluctuations in usage, due to the long list of factors that can cause a building’s energy usage to change seemingly at random. Having a fundamental understanding of how a building uses energy and what causes it to change is essential to optimising performance in the long term.