Decarbonization in buildings is not a trend; it’s a reality

Decarbonization in buildings is not a trend; it’s a reality

In 2019, the New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act. And the Local Law 97 of this act mandates strict control of carbon footprint in buildings larger than 25,000 square feet. This legally-binding action mandates buildings to cut down emissions by 24% by 2024, as the first step. So, what led to this?

The basis of the Act was an evidence-based consensus that buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy use and an equivalent 40% of global GHG emissions. Globally, buildings are second only to transportation, in their carbon footprint, and in developed cities like New York, buildings have surpassed transportation in emissions. This alarming state of affairs has prompted a strong response from administrations, as the world nears a critical point of no return on climate change. So, decarbonization, sustainability and net-zero initiatives, which were previously viewed as value propositions and discretionary spending, have become an inescapable reality.

Ways to decarbonize new buildings

Buildings’ energy and carbon footprint is spread across the value chain, from construction to lifecycle operations. In early stages, decarbonization primarily involves substituting cement as the primary material, as its production involves high embodied energy and carbon emissions. Developments in Contech – a portmanteau for construction and technology – have brought revolutionary, low-carbon products and practices, such as 3D-printing, ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBFS) and cross-laminated timber, to the market.

From an architectural standpoint, innovative design tools and technologies can help optimize daylight performance, through topographical analysis of buildings. This helps reduce the requirement for artificial, energy-consuming lighting throughout the building lifecycle. Also, the scope for decarbonization and energy efficiency becomes greater when smart thermostats and meters are installed.

Decarbonization of existing buildings

Lately, electrification of fossil fuel-based central boilers, using electric heat pumps, has gained momentum, as a top-down initiative. Fitted with individually-controlled thermostats and sensors, along with IoT-powered ability to centrally monitor these devices, high-efficiency electric heat pumps have helped practitioners take significant strides towards carbon control.

The greater focal point for decarbonizationin existing buildings, are HVAC systems, since they account for nearly 40% of energy consumption and equal percentage of total carbon emissions, on an average. Typically, decarbonization involves ensuring that HVAC subsystems – like heat exchangers, blowers, coils and compressors – are operating optimally. Even if slight malfunctions are ignored, they compound and lead to increased energy consumption and emissions.

However, unlike central boilers, HVAC units are decentralized, with various elements of the system at different stages of technological evolution. An average multi-family residential facility has hundreds of distinct, multi-vendor HVAC systems. Under such circumstances, decarbonization is made possible best by IoT integration and collation of data from each system, to assess which ones require maintenance and efficiency improvements.

Today, retrofit solutions are able to go a step further, using AI analytics to derive insights that allows operators to predict and schedule maintenance, and tweak performance in real time. Such retrofit solutions also accompany ML-based fault detection and diagnostics, which drills down to root causes of problems and fixes them. By leveraging such unified platforms, owners in existing buildings are able to not only keep energy consumption and carbon emission in check, but also offer personalized and on-demand services for end users.

Tech enabled sustainability is the future of buildings

In New York, where the new laws impact over 50,000 existing buildings, these retrofitted digital solutionsare the most viable option to meet emission targets. Across the Atlantic,the EU has estimated that 80% of the buildings that will exist within its borders have already been built. So European cities will be just as eager to retrofit their existing building stock with digital solutions that form the basis for a carbon-neutral future. In fact, rapid urbanization around the world is sure to ensure that digitally optimized sustainability of buildings emerges as a default measure, globally.

About Netix Global BV

Headquartered in Hoofdorp (Netherlands), Netix Global BV is a vendor neutral iIBMS automation solutions provider, with a strong focus on sustainable smart buildings, smart cities and energy efficiency. The company’s global presence currently extends from Europe to the Middle East, USA, India, Singapore, with upcoming debuts in Canada and Australia, as well as active opportunities being pursued in broader markets. Building on the strengths of an open framework and IoT technology driven approach, Netix Global BV is a premier provider of best-in-class building automation systems, solutions and services, including an Intelligent Integrated Command & Control Center (iICCC).

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About Sanjeevv Bhatia

A ceaseless and ambitious entrepreneur, Sanjeevv Bhatia is the CEO of Netix Global BV, a vendor neutral iIBMS automation solutions provider, with a strong focus on solutions for sustainable smart buildings, smart cities and energy efficiency, including the Integrated Control Command Center (ICCC) for remote monitoring & management of facilities. He is the force behind an impressive portfolio of companies, offering cutting edge products and services across the Middle East, Europe, Asia Pacific and the USA. Managing Director and Partner at Teknoware Middle East, and CEO of ODS Global DMCC, Exenture Global BV, Netix Global BV and Exenture Films India Pvt Ltd, Sanjeevv’s urge to address unmet needs through innovation has found expression in an array of market leading ventures. A Master of Business Administration (MBA, Marketing and Finance) from the Southern New Hampshire University, Sanjeevv’s career of more than 20 years has been a meteoric rise, built on a strong work ethic, vision, and focus on people and partnerships.

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