Energy Information Systems: From the Basement to the Boardroom
A significant buildings energy reduction opportunity exists in the office sector, given that this market segment typically is an early adopter of new technology. There is a rising trend towards smart and connected offices through the internet of things (IoT) that provides new opportunities for operational efficiency and environmental sustainability practices. Leading commercial real estate companies have begun to shift from individual building automation systems (BAS) to partially integrated and automated systems such as energy information systems (EIS). In both the United States and India, organizations are seeking operational excellence, enhanced tenant relationships, and topline growth. Hence it is imperative to engage the executives with decision-making power, by tapping into their interest in sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and innovation. This expansion of interest can enable data-driven decisions, strong energy investments, and deeper energy benefits, and would drive innovation in this field. However, none of this would be possible without robust, consistent building energy information to provide visibility across all the levels of decision making, i.e. from the basement where the facilities staff take operational action to the boardroom where the executives make investment decisions.
Price, security, and ease of use remain barriers to the adoption and pervasive use of promising EIS technologies in commercial office buildings. We believe that these barriers can be addressed through the development of ready, simplified, consistent, commercially available, low-cost EIS-in-a-box packages, that have a pre-defined set of hardware components and software features and functionality that are pertinent to a particular building sector. These simplified, sector-specific EIS packages can help to obviate the need for customization, and enhance ease of use, thereby enabling scale-up, in order to facilitate building energy savings. The EIS-in-a-box are adaptable in both U.S. and Indian office buildings, and potentially beyond these two countries.