There’s an increasing call across the country – California and New York especially – for “electrification,” the process of moving buildings to green energy sources (hydroelectricity, wind turbines, geothermal or solar) rather than relying on older methods that can be harmful to the environment.
Commercial buildings have a massive footprint, with the commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey estimating a total of nearly 6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. alone. Of those 6 million buildings, the overwhelming majority (roughly 98 percent) are considered small- and medium-sized buildings (SMBs).
Despite accounting for nearly all of the country’s commercial buildings, SMBs are – generally speaking – woefully underserved by the latest best practices and technologies. Relatively few receive the attention they need when it comes to energy efficiency, HVAC optimization, indoor air quality monitoring and other criteria that could impact the environment and affect human health.
There can be many reasons for this neglect, including:
- A general lack of understanding of the finer points of HVAC systems, energy efficiency opportunities and indoor air quality (IAQ)
- Insufficient time to manage all of the above aspects
- A reliance on reactive maintenance, rather than being proactive
- More recently, reduced revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The points above end up hampering success of electrification, because even if a building is converted to a healthier energy source, wasteful habits can still be damaging to its overall environmental footprint.
Recently, energy leaders in New York – specifically the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) – have begun partnering with the tech sector to close the gaps in the commercial real estate space. This model of cooperation could serve as a blueprint to begin giving SMBs nationwide the support they need to successfully electrify.
Tech to the Rescue
The key solution lies in remote asset management – 24/7 monitoring made possible through smart sensors, AI, IoT and the cloud alongside a dedicated team of experts. With a light on-site implementation and profile, as well as a low-cost monthly subscription, these service providers can address the common underlying issues preventing buildings from being as clean, healthy and energy efficient as possible.
These services utilize a holistic, turn-key approach to provide a complete solution for energy efficiency and IAQ. It starts by setting up an array of smart sensors in relevant locations to take measurements, including:
- How many people are in the building at a given moment
- At what times of day does the building see the most occupants
- How the temperature responds to these daily patterns
- At what capacity and duration does the HVAC system need to run to reach a desired temperature
There’s no greater energy efficiency than simply not having a device turned on – and the same applies to an HVAC system. In many SMBs, owners are unable to micromanage the air conditioning amidst all their other responsibilities, so a common approach is to leave it on full blast. Worse yet, many SMBs use packaged HVAC units that end up not being very efficient.
With no replacement unit necessary, remote asset management solutions can improve efficiency by as much as 50 percent.
On the IAQ solutions front, these solutions can apply new technologies that work to automatically manage the ventilation and filtration systems, purifying the indoor air so that occupants can feel safe and secure. In the post COVID-19 world, this kind of assurance on the quality of a building’s air will be just as important as a building’s effort to reduce its footprint elsewhere. Some have even begun using IAQ badges in the front of their building, much like the health inspection grades seen in front of restaurants for years.
mCloud’s own remote asset management solution, AssetCare, offers all of these services and more. To learn about our platform, visit our AssetCare page.