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Optimizing Buildings Requires Balancing The Use Of Energy, Space, Operations, And Security. Can Current Software Solutions Provide This Balance?

BP recently released its 2017 Energy Outlook, making several predictions about global energy use from 2017 until 2035 and beyond. A key prediction is that the growth of energy use in the global building sector will slow to 1.5% per year (or lower in some ‘high efficiency’ scenarios), driven chiefly by energy efficiency gains using energy saving technology. Another key prediction is that renewable energy will be the fastest growth source of energy, accounting for 40% of growth in new power generation by 2035. The projected savings in energy use would be welcome for operators always seeking to optimise their assets. Solution providers, on the other hand, will see the potential for greater systems integration and more advanced information management solutions to support operators in a more complex environment.

How does this translate into on the ground realities? The Verdantix 2016 Global Survey of Energy Leaders found that 90% of the 250 respondents rated operational efficiency (such as optimizing maintenance events) as an important driver for new investments. New directives in the EU (such as the Energy Efficiency Directive) are pushing firms to save on energy through efficiency gains like lighting upgrades, whilst regulations in Latin America (such as Mexico’s Energy Transition Law) are pushing firms to invest in clean technology like on-site generation. Notably, 75% of respondents also told us they foresee investments into onsite generation technologies, marking an increase of roughly 20% from our 2014 survey. Our analysis suggests on-site solar and gas CHP are the most popular power generation technologies (see Verdantix Businesses Powering On With Decentralized Energy Vision 2016).

So, what’s missing? Despite pressure from regulations and a growing anticipation of future investment, the current toolkit for optimizing facility operations still lacks a holistic approach. For example, there are separate platforms for purchasing energy, analysing its use and monitoring energy generation, running maintenance operations, finding the optimal use of space, managing security, and portfolio management. What is currently lacking is a single platform for all possible facility optimization management. Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) goes some way to addressing this, as it can aggregate dataflows on maintenance, energy, space planning, work order processes, and leases, into a single integrated platform. But most solutions in the market fall some way short of covering everything, given the huge range of user roles, data granularity, and possible analyses. This is where Verdantix believes the market will be working hard to innovate, bring new solutions to market, and prove the business case.