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What Do Smart Modernised Buildings Look Like?

Kurt Gokbudak of Schneider Electric shares some insights on modernising ageing buildings with a few successful case studies around the world.

What Do Smart Modernised Buildings Look Like?

The challenges of ageing buildings include the evolving demands of today’s tenants and the costly consequences of older facilities. At Schneider Electric, we talk about the best strategy to modernise ageing buildings. Here are a few examples of both new and updated buildings and what is possible when facilities deliver what tenants demand today. Let’s start with the Edge, which has been called the world’s most sustainable building.

The Edge is in Zuidas, Europe’s fastest growing business and knowledge district in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This complex has been called the world’s most sustainable office building because it received BREEAM-NL outstanding rating, with a 98.36% rating – the highest ever given. It also has been called “perhaps the most fully realised vision of the IoT the world has ever seen”.

The Edge not only sets a new global benchmark for the built environment, but also prioritises the comfort, health, and productivity of its occupants. Real-time energy consumption and efficiency data gathered from its BMS are shared with building occupants and visitors via a dashboard located on a video screen located in the building’s lobby. The building uses less than 0.3 kWh/m2 per year energy consumption and actually produces approximately 102 per cent of its own energy.

Now let’s look at The Davis School District in Utah, which is a leader in energy efficiency among K-12 schools. The district recently completed the transition to energy efficient solution in over 90 facilities encompassing over 10 million square feet, including 59 elementary schools, 16 junior high schools, eight high schools, and three alternative high schools.

The school now has one integrated system with updated, cutting-edge technology to ensure their facilities are operating at peak energy efficiency. The district reduced energy consumption by 7 per cent and improved learning environments while campus square footage grew 18 per cent. The district received the 2013 Excellence in Energy Award in the category of Responsible Energy Development from the state of Utah.

From a hotel perspective, Hilton Worldwide in Washington, DC, provides an example of in the hospitality industry. Hilton wanted to enhance the guest experience while improving resource efficiency. Leveraging data synthesised by a resource advisor solution, Hilton lowered its energy costs and improved its guest experience across its global portfolio of owned, managed, and leased properties.

Automated bill management minimises late fees and utility pricing discrepancies, while innovative building management solutions reduce energy expenditures. Its guest room management systems improved guest satisfaction. The company has realised 14.5 per cent in energy savings since 2009.

Here’s an example from the higher education segment. The University of North Texas in Denton, TX gained a 31 per cent reduction in energy costs, equal to $14 million in savings, over the course of two energy savings performance contracts. As one of Texas’ largest universities, the 105-year-old university has 54 buildings in its 12 colleges and schools.

To achieve its goal of a ‘climate neutral’ campus, the school underwent a series of renovations and energy upgrades, which included retrofits to the learning environment and direct digital controls for improved comfort. The school also put in variable frequency drives for better air flows, improved lighting systems, and other equipment and systems upgrades.

Each of these facilities, whether new or old, is serving the needs of their tenants with buildings that save costs and improve efficiency. These are the kinds of results that any building owner can achieve with the right strategy and the right tools.

To learn more about the strategies discussed here, read this white paper: New Life for Aging Facilities: Four Strategies for Future-Proofing Older Buildings.

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