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Robert Irving Burns

How Can Smart & Flexible Buildings Help Us Reach Net Zero Targets?

December 22, 2021    |   Robert Irving Burns

Smart and flexible buildings could be one of the solutions to help in the fight against climate change. In 2021, the UK Government outlined plans for the country to shift toward using net-zero energy systems. The report stated that “our homes, businesses and public sector premises – are one of the largest sources of UK emissions, accounting for around 30% of greenhouse gas emissions”.

The goal is to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption while increasing energy efficiency in buildings. In addition, smart technology could ensure significant cost savings — something all consumers would welcome, considering the recent hikes in energy costs.

What is a Smart and Flexible Building?

A smart and flexible building is one designed to be energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable. These “smart” buildings use sensors, software, and other technologies to monitor temperature, humidity, lighting, air quality, and other factors. They also use advanced technology such as artificial intelligence to optimise how the building functions.

Smart and flexible buildings result in reduced carbon emissions, cost savings, and increased productivity. Residents living in smart and flexible buildings generally enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, employees in smart office buildings and factories enjoy better indoor air quality and healthier workplace environments.

Creating Smart and Flexible Buildings to Reach Net Zero Emissions

To create efficient buildings, it’s vital to implement smart building technology solutions. This involves increasing operational efficiency by using advanced meters, smart appliances, sensors, and efficient energy storage solutions to reach a net-zero target. However, it’s also necessary to consider the building’s fabric and occupancy times.

Here are three ways smart energy management can result in tremendous carbon savings to address the climate crisis.

Improve energy efficiency to reduce the carbon footprint

Improved energy efficiency is key to improving the environmental performance of a building. For example, smart meters can help monitor demand and improve efficiency. These can help building owners or homeowners provide on-demand heating, cooling and ventilation based on the climate and occupancy.

Digital technology to create smarter buildings

Smart appliances and sensors are vital when it comes to building automation systems. Gone are the days when someone needed to switch systems on and off. Now, it’s possible to significantly reduce energy usage and improve building performance using temperature control, illumination and security solutions. For home occupants, domotics — home automation systems — can help control heating, lighting and monitor CO2 emissions.

Energy supply and storage systems to complement smart building systems

One critical way to achieve a carbon-neutral building is to switch to renewable energy solutions and efficient storage systems. For example, energy storage can include improving insulation, using electric batteries and optimising hot water storage. However, for these systems to be effective, a building must be flexible. In other words, consumers need bespoke solutions that are adaptable to each individual building.

Of course, one of the key ways to reach net-zero targets is to improve the use of renewable energy sources. For example, carbon reduction targets can be met by installing heat pumps, using solar power, and switching to energy providers that generate carbon-neutral energy.

If you’re a London landlord looking to let a smart and flexible building in Central London, contact our expert commercial or residential lettings team today who will be able to help.

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