Two driving factors in building management practices are public policy around climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic drastically impacts how building spaces are used, which directly affects property management. Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) are being implemented in cities to improve energy performance in existing buildings to meet climate goals. The fast pace of technological advances and the high expectations of occupants are challenging building managers. To stay competitive and compliant, building managers should stay on top of the following ten trends:
- Humans contribute to building under-performance. The success or failure of a building’s performance rests on the correct operation of the systems to meet the as-designed targets. If system settings aren’t set at comfortable levels or if smart components are too difficult to operate, human interference can have a serious impact on energy consuption. Designers need to understand how tenants use the space to better incorporate technology that will encourage occupants to achieve energy efficiency goals. Smart technology must be user friendly. Tenant education is key to the success of the performance of the building.
- On-Demand Water Heating – According to the Department of Energy, tankless water heaters can be 24%-34% more energy efficient than storage tank heaters. With proper sizing, tankless water heaters offer reliability and save space. The higher initial cost of a tankless water heater can be offset by the longer life expectancy and lower energy usage.
- Energy Efficient Retrofits – Due to climate goals, existing building energy performance are tracked, and efficiency targets set by government policy. Climate goal laws often spark owners of existing building stock to audit their buildings and plan re-commissioning, renovation and retrofit projects to increase energy efficiency.
- Integration of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems – CHP, also known as cogeneration, is the concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating and/or cooling) from a single source of energy. A suite of technologies is becoming more widely available that use a variety of fuels to generate electricity from a location near the point of consumption. The Department of Energy has programs in place to provide stakeholders resources and support for CHP applications.
- Low interest rates predicted until 2022 are allowing investors more flexibility to secure a mortgage and invest in properties for new construction or retrofit projects.
- Remote work and digital transformation will result in less leased office space as well as redesigning offices to feature new ways of collaboration. The hybrid work style will be the new normal. Buildings that offer flexible space options, touchless technology and improved indoor air quality will have higher success rates.
- Cost of renewable electric continues to fall, so renewable projects will increase in 2022.
- Electrification will keep expanding. The development of large scale storage systems and storage technologies is advancing rapidly and will overcome the peak supply challenges of electrification. Advances in the process of electrolysis to produce hydrogen is viewed as a viable path for industries challeged by electrification such as heavy transport, aviation, steelmaking, and cement prodution.
- Hybrid Power Plant – The power supply will shift away from the traditional centralized utility business model to hybrid plants that integrate renewables and localized power sources.
- Digital Transformation – Sophisticated automation and analytics at ever level of facility management including HVAC controls, energy management, building security and more will impact operation and maintenance as well as new construction and renovation. Learning the best strategies to implement digitalization of a facility requires knowledge of cutting-edge technology and industry best practices.
More than ever, stakeholders in commercial building stock must provide spaces that improve the occupant experience while operating at the highest performance and efficiency. Albireo Energy has the depth of expertise and services to be the partner that can identify a successful path through the evolving industry trends.