Navigant Research Blog

Capitalizing on Data for Intelligent Buildings Market Expansion

— August 9, 2017

The intelligent buildings market continues to evolve, and an increasing focus on the value of data opens the door to inventive offerings that speak to critical pain points for commercial customers within the market. Energy efficiency remains an important value proposition for intelligent building solutions, but cost savings associated with utility bills is an insufficient driver for market transformation in facilities management. The push toward the Internet of Things (IoT) as the framework for digital transformation of commercial buildings and the next iteration of the intelligent building capitalizes on the multitude of nonenergy benefits derived from facility data. The next frontier is moving from energy efficiency to energy optimization and from data-driven improvements to the occupant experience.

Smarter Interactions with Energy

Building-to-Grid Integration, a Navigant Research report, presents big picture energy opportunities for intelligent buildings. Data, and the insights derived from it through analytics, elevate business opportunities for managing energy in commercial and industrial (C&I) buildings. A growing number of intelligent building solutions utilize data to direct an orchestration of systems to optimize energy use—the focus is on advancement and a more sophisticated use of technologies than simply using data to create dashboards that report on system performance.

Building-to-grid (B2G) is an emerging construct that creates an opportunity to generate new value streams with energy services as a foundation. The B2G platform is the framework for transactions around the energy supply and demand associated with the facilities and distributed energy resources of C&I sites. The bundling of advisory services, data communications, controls, and analytics will likely be the foundation of B2G solutions that enable the aggregation and coordination of C&I facilities to meet specific economic and corporate objectives. These objectives include power reliability, sustainability, and revenue growth.

Fundamental Shift in Enhancing the Occupant Experience

The Intelligent Building Technologies for Value-Added Services report from Navigant Research explores how utilities can leverage IoT as a platform for new offerings to improve customer engagement and satisfaction. The benefit of the focus on data creation and analysis showcases the many nonenergy benefits that align with shifting customer expectations around technology. The number of commercial customers already investing in IoT solutions should result in changes to the consumption and demand patterns utilities use for resource planning. Furthermore, rapid growth in IoT for intelligent buildings market represents a significant revenue opportunity for new offerings. At the same time, it represents a threat to existing revenue streams for traditional electric services as these technology-enabled customers reshape how their building operations and energy consumption align.

IoT value-added services can be designed around financial incentives and expert advisory that builds off the existing core capabilities of C&I demand-side management programs. IoT intelligent building advisory offerings can leverage existing core domain expertise around energy efficiency and domain management, but would be amplified by partnerships with IoT players currently in the market.

These new Navigant Research reports underscore the expansive opportunities associated with intelligent building data. Early solution provider adopters will need to develop strategic partnerships and revisit branding and positioning, but the upside to these challenges will far outweigh the costs.


Intelligent Buildings and the Energy Cloud

— September 1, 2016

Intelligent BuildingLast year, Navigant introduced the concept of the Energy Cloud to describe the current transformation of the power industry. The idea is that the energy network is revolutionizing through technological innovation and the introduction of new business models. The Energy Cloud reflects a shift away from a one-way power system toward a highly networked ecosystem of two-way power flows and digitally enabled intelligent grid architecture. At the same time, generation resources will become more diverse, moving away from the dominance of large centralized generation plants to more dynamic distributed generation resources.


There are infinite business opportunities in this new paradigm of energy supply and demand. Commercial buildings have an integral role to play in supporting reliable and resilient power through the evolving infrastructure. Commercial buildings present siting for distributed and renewable energy, and this is the most straightforward opportunity for new revenue in the Energy Cloud. Things become much more interesting when innovative technologies integrate control, automation, power systems, and software analytics to redefine the commercial building as a node in the Energy Cloud. This technology layer creates an intelligent building business asset, and Navigant introduces this concept as building-to-grid (B2G) in the new white paper Navigating the Energy Transformation. 

The keystone for B2G is the development of building interfaces that enable seamless integration with the power grid. Where today’s traditional commercial buildings represent a major source of energy demand, greenhouse gas emissions, and business cost centers, the B2G concept leverages technology infrastructure as part of a broader distributed energy resources portfolio within the Energy Cloud.

The US Department of Energy has also outlined the importance of B2G, stating “The current lack of dispatchablility is the fundamental disconnect between the current state in which buildings are passive, ‘sleeping’ untapped assets for operators and building owners, and the future state, in which buildings could act as distributed energy assets, functioning as ‘shock absorbers’ for the grid, opening up new value streams for owners and operators, and, in general, playing an essential role in enabling a more efficient, green, and secure energy system.”

Energy Transition

The transition from sleeping untapped assets to B2G relies on the integration of intelligent building technologies. A building energy management system (BEMS) is the heart of the intelligence that enables this transition. We recently published a new Navigant Research Leaderboard Report, which presents the strengths and weaknesses of 15 BEMS providers. The investment in these software solutions helps customers start down the pathway toward B2G. While the Energy Cloud is the future of the power industry, B2G is the concept that redefines commercial buildings as material business assets.


Blog Articles

Most Recent

By Date


Clean Transportation, Digital Utility Strategies, Electric Vehicles, Energy Technologies, Finance & Investing, Policy & Regulation, Renewable Energy, Smart Energy Program, Transportation Efficiencies, Utility Transformations

By Author