Reaping the benefits of green buildings, smart grids

July 18, 2012

There are many building owners and tenants across the country who are realizing the many benefits that come from using energy efficient technology. However, unless the products and fixtures are installed and monitored correctly, these installations may not be as effective as they were intended to be.

According to GreenBiz, many of the economic and energy benefits that have been outlined for smart buildings have yet to be realized. This is due, in part, to a lack of cooperation between the two sectors, that currently operate independently.

"There has been a lot of talk about the opportunity for connected, responsive Smart Buildings that are interoperable with the Smart Grid. The reality, however, is that the development of Smart Buildings and the Smart Grid is taking place almost entirely independently of each other," Marcus Torchia, Research Manager at IDC Energy Insights, said in a report. "Vendors, building owners and utilities are missing a major market opportunity in both the short and long term if they don’t consider adopting business practices to accelerate and expand the deployment of interconnected Smart Buildings."

While many corporations want to make a move to energy efficient buildings, they have yet to see the cost reductions and improved operations they were promised because their monitoring systems and the associated technology are not connected.

Part of this problem comes from the lack of understanding from utilities and vendors, both of which are thinking in ways that benefit their organization.

According to GreenBiz, vendors and utilities need to look at the demand for energy management opportunities of potential customers and then develop programs that help to create economies of scale.

Benefits need to be spread out among the three groups, as customers and the alleged savings they were promised need to be taken into account by the people who are installing the products and selling them the energy.

Smart grids work because of a combined effort of those who provide information and those who use it, and this approach needs to be taken across the energy efficient buildings industry.

Intelligent Utility reported that "customer engagement" is key to how efficient these systems are, and this responsibility is placed on all three entities.

This is the type of collaboration that the DOE-sponsored Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) is trying to foster, as the Philadelphia-based initiative is comprised of the brightest minds from energy development companies, the private sector, government and academia.