Energy Management in the Real Estate Industry

Energy Management in the Real Estate Industry
June 12, 2020 Editor

It can sound surprising to real estate observers that overall energy consumption for office and commercial buildings can account for over half of the overall operating cost. In fact, more than one-fifth of the energy usage goes into greenhouse emissions. We need to find more efficient ways to make operating energy consumption for commercial real estate more environmentally-friendly in future without compromising on stakeholders form such measures. From an economic point of view, successful implementation of cost saving measures might even increase the value of commercial assets.

Employing technology

With energy efficiency, working towards a more energy efficient building starts. To better calculate, monitor, and change energy usage, commercial real estate companies may use updated technology. Getting this data enables commercial real estate firms to provide a futuristic viewpoint on the use of electricity.

With the advent of new technology applications, there are now opportunities for real estate players to leverage on that to move towards greater energy efficiency. This requires investment and a long-term viewpoint in order to potentially produce results in the future. For example,  data through monitoring and tracking provide firms with valuable information to work with regarding the use of building electricity. 

Applying Big Data

Real-time data is extremely applicable in this aspect as it allows effective and deep understanding on the allocation and consumption of energy in buildings. In addition, ways to interpret and analyse the data is thoroughly needed to make sense of the data in order to learn the areas where efficiency can be improved. Apart form analysts and data collection centres who will be directly working on the data collected, it is imperative that employees and decision-makers understand the facts and how they should react and measures to implement accordingly. Building operators will have to weigh this with the trade offs that they are likely to incur with such energy-saving measures.

Financial benefits

Developers of green buildings have enjoyed higher returns on their investments in such projects. In addition, improved energy efficiency has on average yielded a return of 6% rise in property value, according to the Singapore Green Building Council. 

In order to achieve favourable outcomes, real estate companies should employ technology and big data applications to provide solutions to study and develop better ways to employ energy consumption. By focussing on energy usage, savings and reducing emissions can then be achieved. 

State subsidies

Real estate construction in the development market has a great macro impact on the energy economics in the locality. Building design also plays a role as form and efficient insulation methods including high efficiency heating, hot water and lighting technologies, air conditioning servicing; and rooftop solar PV and battery storage have higher energy efficiency potential. These designs measures can be applied equally both to construction of new buildings as well as retrofitting of existing buildings.

Local state government can introduce regulations to better incentivise the building industry by engaging architects and developers and encourage or subsidising tariffs when they employ energy efficient technologies in their buildings. Further use of innovations will also help to lower long term cost while providing benefits to various stakeholders. For example, reinstatement works to existing buildings can enjoy subsidies if energy saving innovations are employed. In the labour market, the subsidies also go into labour and create growth in jobs in the building sector, and the regional economics development at large.