The impacts of intensifying natural disasters from bushfires in Australia to the flames across the Western U.S. are being complicated by the global coronavirus pandemic. Disruption and uncertainty is the only new normal and this truly is a climate emergency.
In the short term, executives are leading climate action in the U.S. and corporate sustainability initiatives are evolving to address climate change head on. Monumental investments in renewable energy and carbon offsetting have grabbed headlines – now is the time to take the next step and begin the mass decarbonization of the built environment.
The role of real estate in preventing climate change
Consider the fact that building materials, construction, and operations contribute about 40% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Dramatic emissions reduction in buildings is necessary to cap global warming to 1.5 °C in accordance with the guidelines of the IPCC, and this goal will be impossible to achieve without reducing the carbon footprint of buildings.
On September 29th, Patti Mason, VP of Operations, and I participated in a virtual roundtable discussion with Joe Aamidor from Aamidor Consulting at CREtech’s virtual Reimagining Real Estate Sustainability Summit. In the session, A world on fire: How data-driven sustainability increases resilience and profitability, they explored the challenge of reopening businesses with ongoing sustainability goals. The issue may seem like an exercise in trade-offs, but technology investment can ensure all far-reaching goals are achieved. Here are the two key take-aways from the conversation:
#1 – Building decarbonization protects the bottom line
The current pandemic has accelerated trends emerging over the last 24 months in real estate. Executives are seeking data-driven solutions to optimize operations and minimize costs. At the same time, there has been an overall shift in perspective to focus on the occupant in investment decision-making. Tenants, employees, and customers demand a technology-enabled experience that reflects their at-home sustainable and digital preferences. These factors are converging and real estate leaders now understand that technology-enabled sustainability reflects positively on their brands. The investment decisions they make can ensure their spaces are comfortable, productive, efficient and sustainable, helping to attract and retain employees and customers while appeasing other stakeholders and protecting the bottom line.
Don’t overlook the fact that your shareholders and financial institutions are taking stock of the risk imposed by climate change. A new report from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Association was released in September, making it pretty cut and dry: “Climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy.” The report goes on to address the climate risk for real estate directly, stating “assets may be devalued simultaneously as a function of both absolute losses from physical risks and from the transition risk of consumer preferences shifting away from ‘non-green’ assets that lack sustainability and resilience.”
#2 – Digital technologies move buildings from green to resilient and future proof
We’ve all heard the phrase, “data is the new currency” in today’s market and real estate executives should acquire enterprise software tools that evaluate building performance alongside any other KPI monitoring their business health and climate resilience strategies. To do so, you need comprehensive, consistent and accurate data. It’s inevitable that you have disparate building systems across your portfolio, facilities management tools and energy information all siloed and accessed through a myriad of platforms however. Fortunately, Switch Automation offers an alternative to achieve data transparency, insight and control for building performance optimization.
The essential first step toward a more resilient, efficient portfolio
Our solutions ensure compliance, resilience and transparency to navigate the new normal of uncertainty. Switch Dx3 is a powerful foundation for the enterprise smart building strategy. In under a week of deployment, Switch Dx3 gives customers a unified view of network health and equipment and device connectivity, providing ongoing data aggregation and storage to enable system analytics and automated control.
The Switch Platform visualizes, assesses and can automate controls for system optimization leveraging the data from Switch Dx3 and any data stream, platform, or facilities tool in your enterprise. This approach ensures you have the visibility into how your buildings are performing to meet the rapidly changing demands from occupants, comply with shifting public health requirements and showcase your commitment to the climate change strategies necessary for long-term profitability.
Click below to see how Switch Dx3 can help your operations team establish network health and smart building readiness.
Director of Smart Building Impact Casey Talon brings over a dozen years of experience as an industry analyst and consultant working at the intersection of technology, policy, economics, and sustainability. Casey has a deep understanding of the key enabling technologies for digital transformation and decarbonization of the built environment. At Switch, Casey helps our customers understand how investing in smart building readiness and our digital Platform is a vital competitive differentiator that delivers continuous improvement in real estate operations with cost savings, efficiency gains, and greater resilience.