Why sustainability means digitalization
"Sustainability and digitalization are not only the most relevant drivers of innovation for the real estate industry, they are inseparably linked."
Hardly anyone continues to doubt the relevance of sustainable management. With buildings now accounting for some 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (even more than the transport sector), there is good reason to consider buildings as the number one focus area for emissions reduction activities.The World Economic Forum has just presented its annual “Global Risks Report”: For the first time in history, all the ‘Top 5 Risks’ are ecological in nature. As part of its “Green Deal”, the EU has estimated investments of up to one trillion euros for it to become climate-neutral by 2050. We as a real estate industry cannot and should not shut ourselves off from this.
Existing buildings must become smart
True, more and more smart buildings are being built that can alleviate certain problems. But: 80% of the buildings of 2050 already exist today. Much of the data and information required for sustainable portfolio management is still to a certain extent “trapped in physics”. No single instrument can be used to make a large impact, building portfolios have to implement a combination of effective tools and emerging technologies to reach high compliance with sustainability goals, internal and external. This requires the measurement and evaluation of a wide variety of data.
Unlocking new and unforeseen possibilities
This exponentially growing mountain of data has become a market unto itself in the years since the turn of the millennium. The challenge for green technology applications is to unlock and harmonize these multiple streams of data and put them to advantageous use for real estate companies seeking to hit the next environmental benchmark or enable a new level of efficiency. This urgent need for harmonizing data is only possible with multiple data inputs converging at a single data platform or Common Data Model that can dynamically handle such data with emerging tech like artificial intelligence and machine learning, and then present the harmonized data to stakeholders in a meaningful and insightful way.
Next-generation analytics are needed
Portfolio management will continue to pursue the goal of profitability in the future – but within a framework of compliance with sustainability KPIs. The built environment has much to gain from data-driven analysis.
"The need for a standardization of data and information flows is obvious." says VP Product Development at BuildingMinds, Tobias Decker. "On the basis of a Common Data Model, decarbonization strategies, people satisfaction targets and profitability KPI’s can be effectively combined".
A recent study at Sungkyunkwan University on current Building Energy Performance Simulation (BEPS) tools found compelling evidence that modern energy analysis of “real life” buildings is far better served by data-driven models such as machine learning as opposed to classical forward models. The necessity of digital transformation for modern enterprises in the 21st century is undeniable.
Future-proofing a company for the new century involves transforming its culture and evolving its assets into value-added data that can offer a competitive edge in the new digital workplace. The benefits are myriad.