News article

How to use buildings in the fight to slow climate change

Priva explains...
Building Automation
Priva Digital Services
21 November 2022

Cloud-based building automation services enable buildings owners to operate their estates in ways that are ‘leaner and greener’. In a new Q&A, we explore how its digital offerings are helping to slow the rate of climate change – and increase the pace at which we reach Net Zero.

Q: How do you know if your buildings fit for a Net Zero future?

A: Governments around the world are taking action to address the urgent issue of reducing carbon emissions from the built environment. The cheapest and easiest way to reduce energy demand and CO2 emissions is through energy efficiency. As the European Commission estimates that the vast majority of today's buildings will still be standing in 2050, it’s clear that technology must be usable in both new builds and to retrofit existing structures.

But, how do you know if your buildings are fit for a Net Zero future? We think there are six key questions a building / energy manager should be asking about his / her organization’s energy use:

- Is there any obvious wastage in our current energy plan?
- Are all of our building systems operating effectively?
- Are we using occupancy sensors and other technologies that can help minimize wasted energy?
- Would it be useful to keep track of energy consumption?
- Are there elements of our infrastructure thar can be improved as part of a longer-term energy reduction strategy?

If your answer is ‘yes’ to some (or all!) of these questions, the time is likely to be right for a move to cloud-based building services.

Q: How can a move to cloud-based building automation contribute to climate goals?

A: The Harvard Business Review study found that 66 percent of global organizations say that better energy management is their primary business driver for making smart building investment. So, it’s clear that change is coming.

But, many companies are responding with changes that are ‘physical’ – such as more efficient lighting systems or enhanced heating and cooling. However, if you are an estates manager or building owner, one of the biggest single things you can do is to move away from on-premise systems – the kind that have often accounted for a lot of space in rack-rooms. Not only are they often expensive to operate and maintain, they can also be massively demanding in terms of energy consumption – not to mention cooling. By their very nature, they are also much harder to reconfigure as requirements change.

Getting away from that whole approach and embracing cloud-based digital services means that you gain flexibility and save energy – it’s a win-win!

Q: How do Priva’s Digital Services help companies reduce their carbon footprint?

A: Ultimately, it comes down to data and control. Digital services provide you with more effective and nuanced control of building systems. That means more extensive data, across a wider range of operating parameters – allowing you to spot inefficiencies and make improvements. The end-result is lower energy consumption, and therefore a reduction in the contribution of your business to climate change.

The more companies make this move, the more that the pace of climate change can be slowed. It’s a big reason why Priva Digital Services are seeing such strong adoption across the commercial market. All based on the renowned Microsoft Azure cloud platform, our digital services provide greater accessibility, scalability and flexibility than is possible with a ‘legacy’ on-premise approach.

At present we have three main packages:

• The Starter package provides secure cloud operation and control via the Building Operator app.
Essentials adds remote commissioning, a notification center, and historical data storage to these capabilities.
• The top level, Plus, brings in the powerful Priva Analytics reporting feature as well as the chance to create customizable dashboards.

Q: Are there any ‘hidden’ benefits of digitalization?

A: Yes, there are! We have all discovered during the pandemic, reducing the amount we travel can make a big difference to decarbonization. This is particularly apparent in the corporate world, where so many companies have found that video-conferencing can greatly reduce the need for in-person travel and meetings.

Digitalization of building management can be seen as part of this shift. By their very nature, cloud-based digital services are easier to manage and troubleshoot. Problems can often be identified and resolved without the need to go on-site – and from any device.

Plus, as with Priva’s use of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, you have the global resources of a major provider to help you out too! Simply, there will be less need for technicians to travel to and from your building estate to manage systems and fix faults.

Ensuring there is no return to the unrestricted business travel of the past will be vital to slowing climate change. Moving to digital services is therefore a guaranteed way in which companies can embrace this aspect of the ‘new normal’.

Would you like more information? We are happy to help you!

Bill Whittaker

Business Development Manager

Bill Whittaker