By Casey Talon
President Obama recently released the budget for his final year in office; in his message to Congress, he outlined a few key priorities that could have a significant impact on the intelligent buildings market. There is no doubt that a rocky road lies ahead before these aspirations could become a reality. There are benefits to energy efficiency and intelligent building solutions that could be a cornerstone of some bipartisan compromise in the last year of his administration.
Obama stated that, “The challenge of climate change will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. … Rather than shrinking from the challenge, America must foster the spirit of innovation to create jobs, building a climate-smart economy of the future, and protect the only planet we have.” Energy efficient and intelligent building technologies are effective targets for bipartisan policy development because while they can deliver significant climate impacts, the economic benefits are nonpolitical. It bodes well for the intelligent buildings market if the following line items make it through the difficult negotiation period ahead:
- An 8% increase in funding between 2015 and 2016 for projects supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
- $169 million for emerging technologies in the buildings sector
Source: Navigant Research
EERE has also released the 2016-2020 program plan, which outlines the goals for technology development, accelerating market adoption, and defining new energy codes and standards. The Building Technologies Office (BTO) has high expectations for energy efficient buildings and its role in market transformation:
- BTO estimates that by 2020, “accelerated technology development” will lead to cost-effective, energy efficient solutions available that are 30% more efficient than the high efficiency solutions of 2010
- “BTO’s ultimate goal is reduce the average energy use per square foot in all U.S. buildings by 50% from 2010 levels”
Intelligent building technologies have an important role to play in making these federal goals a reality because the information technology backbone can deliver the transparency and accountability to validate and verify the cost savings of energy efficiency. An intelligent building can support the federal budget and policy goals through data collection devices and software analytics (building energy management systems) that provide real-time monitoring of system performance and building utilization. This means that decision makers have the tools to monitor energy costs, measure the savings associated with energy efficiency equipment retrofits, and benchmark performance over time.
Navigant Research recently published a new report on advanced sensors that highlights how these devices are central to monitoring energy efficiency, cost savings, performance improvement, and occupant satisfaction. In just a few weeks, I will join Intel and Lucid to discuss how intelligent building solutions transform data into action for energy savings. Join us for this roundtable webinar discussion and share your thoughts on the role of intelligent buildings and the promise of energy efficiency.