The Brightest Smart Building Owners Use These Technologies

Aug. 24, 2015
The smart building owners most likely to thrive from their investments take advantage of very specific technologies, according to a new report from IDC, “MaturityScape Benchmark: Smart Buildings in the United States.” They invested in HVAC, lighting, plug load, distributed energy resources and analytics systems.

The smart building owners most likely to thrive from their investments take advantage of very specific technologies, according to a new report from IDC, “MaturityScape Benchmark: Smart Buildings in the United States.”

“We looked at companies that were thrivers and survivors, and found the ones that are the most mature and had achieved benefits from their investments were more likely to have invested in very specific technologies: HVAC, lighting, plug loads, distributed energy resources and analytics,” said Jill Feblowitz, an author of the study.

The businesses that invested in those technologies tended to be leaders, she said.

IDC surveyed 200 businesses, and found that the most advanced smart building owners were in retail, process manufacturing and construction.

That finding makes sense, she says.

“Retail businesses are always concerned with lights and groceries. Process manufacturers are dependent on energy consumption. And people in construction are aware of LEED and all the technologies that go into those buildings,” she explained.

The report divided smart building owners into ad-hoc, opportunistic, repeatable, managed and optimized owners, with optimized being the category of owners who reaped the highest benefits.

Of the “optimized” owners — or those who are the smartest smart building owners — about 40 percent focused on HVAC technologies, 28.5 percent on lighting, 41.5 percent on plug loads, 21.5 percent on distributed energy, and 37.5 percent on analytics, according to the report.

These companies deploy HVAC systems that allow for advanced automation and real-time adaptation, integrated with other building systems, the report said.

In terms of lighting, the brightest smart building owners deploy lighting systems that allow for advanced automation and real-time adaptation, integrated with other building systems. They evaluate technologies such as ballasts that dim and LED retrofits, at the very least.

And the smartest smart building owners evaluate plug load controls systems.

In terms of distributed energy resources, these smart building owners evaluate the deployment of renewable energy or energy storage technologies, and consider integrating those systems with advanced analytics that would allow them to optimize them.

As for analytics and data management, these companies focus on systems that integrate many sources of data and are able to automate and optimize building operations.

Find the report here.

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About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

Twitter: @LisaECohn

Linkedin: LisaEllenCohn

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