How Optimizing Ventilation Can Decarbonize the Real Estate Industry

Countries are enforcing net zero carbon mandates to combat global warming. And since buildings are significant CO2 contributors, the real estate industry must decarbonize.

Thanks to the Paris Agreement, over 80 countries have committed to limiting global warming.

As a result, governments are developing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas reduction mandates. The goal? To reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century and keep warming under 1.5 degrees Celcius.

Some of these mandates come with strict compliance and heavy fines. For example, breaches of EU climate change policies have landed companies 6-figure penalties. The largest of these fines reached £608,500.

To avoid these fines and prevent natural disasters, the real estate industry must decarbonize.

Why we need to decarbonize buildings

If we allow the world to heat up, the chance and severity of natural disasters increase. Moderate climates become harsher, storms become more intense, and animal habitats become unstable.

But a net zero Earth in the next few decades has the potential to prevent this scenario.

The problem is the current energy consumption rate is too high. Researchers say that we must reduce coal use five times faster to meet net zero goals.

And buildings are a significant contributor to emissions through coal use. Globally, buildings account for:

  • 36% of energy consumption.
  • And 38% of energy-related carbon emissions.

On top of this, researchers expect the worldwide building floor area to double by 2060. To put it in perspective, that’s the same as adding 480 New York Cities to the world.

Looking at current trends experts say we won’t reach our goal of capping warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. That is unless we decarbonize our current and future buildings.

And a promising option for decarbonizing buildings is to optimize ventilation.

What it means to optimize ventilation

Buildings need adequate ventilation to maintain indoor air quality. But better ventilation leads to higher energy consumption and the resulting emissions.

In saying that, ventilation needs vary yet many HVAC systems only have two modes of operation—on and off. This situation leads to inefficient heating, cooling, and ventilation.

And the resulting choice to focus on either:

  • Saving money on heating and cooling, causing the building environment to become uncomfortable.
  • Or maintaining high indoor air quality, which increases emissions and energy costs.

But with smart devices and optimization methods, you don’t have to choose. And one of the best ways to balance air quality and costs is demand-based ventilation.

Benefits of Ventilation Optimization

Ventilation optimization is vital in supporting our global net zero initiatives. It can reduce energy consumption while maintaining air quality and optimal indoor temperatures.

The results?

  • Building inhabitants are happy, healthy, and productive.
  • Lower operating costs thanks to reduced energy consumption and fewer facility repairs.
  • Global warming becomes part of history rather than a future problem.

Studies on air quality, ventilation, and indoor environments found that:

  • The optimal temperature range for productivity is about 22 – 23 degrees Celcius. And environments above or below these levels negatively affect productivity.

But one of the biggest benefits is the reduction in energy consumption. Heating and cooling make up almost 50% of electricity demand, with air conditioning the main culprit.

But buildings that use demand-controlled ventilation and smart devices can reduce energy needs.

Basic building energy automation can reduce energy bills by around 10 – 15%. If you add demand-controlled ventilation into the mix, you can bump up the savings by another 5 – 10%. Plus, HVAC systems will need fewer repairs as they don’t operate at peak capacity.

Above all, lower energy consumption means less coal use and a healthier environment. As a result, net zero becomes achievable in the coming decades.

How Switch can support your ventilation optimization

At Switch Automation, our solutions ensure your building functions at its best—at all times.

But we don’t keep your building’s data locked in a “black box” algorithm that’s too complex to understand.

Instead, our solutions come with easy-to-understand dashboards. These dashboards distill countless pieces of unrelated building data into actionable insights.

Some key benefits of our solutions include:

  • Combining unrelated data to give you an accurate picture of your building’s health.
  • The flexibility to integrate with existing building management systems—even complex “black boxes.”
  • Top-class data cleaning and transformation to support existing systems.

Is decarbonizing your building a priority in 2022 and beyond? Then talk to one of our smart building experts and discover how Switch can support your net zero initiatives.

Our team is made up of some of the world’s leading experts in sustainability,

engineering and data-science, so your organization can trust that we have your best interest at hear.

If you’re ready to make the switch, contact us today!

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