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Intelligent Buildings Adaption Is Strong but Should Include Building-to-Grid Awareness

Neil Strother
Jan 14, 2020

Connected City 3

The case for intelligent building technology is growing stronger while the market evolves. According to new research from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a growing number of US utilities support intelligent buildings to help reduce energy consumption and to create a flexible, rapidly changing grid.

The ACEEE study highlights what it calls "grid-interactive efficient buildings," also known as smart buildings. These intelligent and efficient buildings can “deliver substantial energy and emission reductions by using highly efficient materials and equipment,” notes Christopher Perry, research manager for ACEEE’s buildings program. “They can also act as resources to the grid, by using less overall energy than a normal building and strategically shifting or reducing energy consumption during peak times.”

Another study tracks the growing interest among commercial real estate owners, tenants, and industry partners in sustainable and intelligent buildings. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (89%) to a STO Building Group survey said green building standards are, or will become, a code requirement. From the same survey, 60% of respondents plan to incorporate sensors and technologies into their projects to track sustainability measures in the next 2 years. There is room for new and smarter building technologies since nearly half of the respondents say just one-quarter or fewer of the buildings in their current portfolios are intelligent.

Disruption On the Horizon

While these studies paint an intriguing picture for the buildings market, they only go so far. As described in the recent Building-to-Grid white paper, and within the context of its Energy Cloud 4.0 concept, Navigant Research, a Guidehouse company, envisions massive disruption over the next 5-15 years. This disruption is anticipated across the entire energy value chain, and Building-to-Grid (B2G) will be a critical platform. According to the white paper, a B2G future will require “digital, automated, and integrated solutions that unify IT and OT. In commercial buildings, decision-making and management of IT and OT systems have long operated in isolation. B2G requires more dynamic interaction among key stakeholders."

Market Stakeholders Should Think Strategically

Adoption of intelligent buildings technologies will be important in the near term and helps lay a foundation for what is to come. Thinking long term, market stakeholders should have a strategy for how their products and services can best integrate with the larger vision of B2G as it aligns with a sustainable, highly digitized and dynamic energy system.