Using Technology to Power a Sustainable Built Environment

by Damien Renaut
Jul 7, 2017 8:05 AM ET

The performance gap between how buildings should perform and how they actually operate is a significant issue but emerging technology now exists that can help address this (and the associated environmental impact) in a cost effective way.

With buildings accounting for over 40% of all carbon emissions within the UK it is essential that the building market embraces technology to reduce its impact on the environment.

By capturing and utilizing the existing data within our buildings we can use the Internet of Things (IoT) to reveal patterns and trends and then ultimately drive improvement.

The property industry is uniquely positioned to technology, using IoT-enabled building management systems (BMS) to make building performance more efficient and enhance building user experience. Most modern buildings have a BMS, which controls systems such as heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, power and more. The BMS is the brain of commercial properties, managing up to 80% of the energy consumed yet most of the data contained within these systems is under-utilised.

Asset Analytics

CBRE thrives on identifying and managing opportunities to improve building efficiency and occupier wellbeing. We have now developed our bespoke Internet of Things (IoT) platform, Asset Analytics. With over £500,000 of service charge savings made across 2,225,000 square feet, CBRE is extending the use of this platform to be an integral part of our property management strategy.

The system works through installing a small gateway in buildings which then gathers relevant data from the BMS and other IoT objects, and continuously transfers this data to a cloud server for analysis. This light touch approach allows us to capture data through the buildings existing network thereby ensuring capital costs are kept to a minimum.  This enables a return on the investment to be realised within 3-6 months with all further savings being passed onto the occupier either directly through reduced energy costs or indirectly through effective service charge management.

The platform provides landlords and tenants with a streamlined method of monitoring and reporting on energy performance and occupier comfort. The system also has the capacity to identify faults and monitor maintenance activity and performance.

Asset Analytics is designed to capture the energy consumption pattern of buildings, and can initiate predictive maintenance to ensure smooth operations. It can be implemented to automate building maintenance services, enabling users to track the operations of power, lighting, ventilation and air-conditioning systems by collecting data such as operating times, idle times, and maintenance cycles.

Real Time Results

To date, twelve properties have been connected to the Asset Analytics system. These are located across the UK, and range in scale from small to large and complex properties, in total comprising some 2,225,000 square feet. The data gathered and analysed by Asset Analytics has generated over £500,000 in savings on existing service charges. The system both provides information about the wellbeing of tenants, to ensure optimum service, and allows us to engage and share information with tenants by means of simple, easy-to-read graphic dashboards.