To promote discussion and transparency about evolving green initiatives, building technology company arbnco and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently hosted a series of roundtable discussions with building and energy executives. The event included attendees from companies such as Schneider Electric, Mace, and MetLife Investment Management. The findings of these discussions are featured in arbnco’s just released 2020 Challenges of the Built Environment report. A vital point of the report centers around the importance of energy programs that touch upon the human experience, rather than too large a focus on energy and cost savings.
"There are many barriers to overcome to effectively manage energy use and human experience including a lack of data, incentivizing feedback, as well as determining the best way to quantify the human experience," said arbnco Chief Product Officer Brian Van Buskirk. "There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of options building managers now have, which makes it difficult to select the right technology for customer needs. There needs to be a roadmap to choosing the right technology. These discussions further highlighted these barriers, and shone a light on the need for more streamlined solutions, collaboration and continued innovation and conversation.
Gathering human experience data has long been lacking in the building optimization industry because programs often overlook occupant feedback and wellness when determining building performance. But with increased digitization services, it is now easier to collect this data. However, there is a common concern about ensuring occupants are motivated to care about their building health and experience and share their feedback.
Another theme of the report highlights the importance of real-time data usage rather than following regulation and compliance. The recurring topic was echoed by Paul D'Alto, Managing Architect at MetLife Investment Management, who stated, "PropTech is exploding, but how do you find the right technology that works for you? Finding the correct data has to be a personal experience, but there are currently challenges to get there.One method discussed to invigorate occupant participation, as well as customized solutions, is through involvement in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), arc scoring, and monitoring data. With these methods, managers move past regulations and make adjustments to fit their occupants and building needs. While regulation and compliance are essential, the ability to monitor trends in real-time allows a more personalized approach to building management.
The report also provides more insight from key executives on the opportunities and roadblocks to more sustainable smart buildings. As technology evolves, arbnco will continue to hold discussions with key industry leaders to uncover ways to improve and innovate programs both in the US and UK.