Proptech and data solve sustainability problems

Tech robot hand holding green sustainable tree

As green building initiatives accelerate, the strategies used by corporate real estate (CRE) professionals to create sustainability frameworks and make decisions are changing.

Historically, making operational improvements to enhance sustainability involved manual, report-centric processes. CRE specialists were only able to evaluate usage data after it occurred (uncovering a month of record-high energy use, for example). They had no opportunity to take corrective action in the moment.

Today, however, action-oriented processes drive change by empowering CRE professionals with real-time data to make faster, more effective, more confident decisions. This approach is a way to digitize decision-making. You’re no longer forced to manually gather summary reports of information about things that happened in the past. Instead, you can access automatically generated information about what’s happening every second.

In a recent Washington Post Live segment about using energy efficiency to combat climate change, experts weighed in.

“We can now solve that first-mile problem,” explained Ramya Ravichandar, VP of sustainability products at JLL Technologies. “Technology can be used to collect building data, cleanse it, normalize it, and then run machine-learning algorithms to make the building [respond] to dynamic conditions.”

This data can be gathered by internet of things sensors that monitor assets, air and water quality, occupancy, and space utilization. The sensors also pinpoint potential problems so they can be addressed early. When combined with data and insights on a centralized dashboard, sensors can capture valuable, actionable data about equipment, systems, facilities, and your portfolio.

Data that enables you to be proactive, not reactive

In a traditional, report-centric environment, you may rely on a regular energy usage summary that offers an overview of consumption from a specific period of time. While this historical data offers a glimpse in the rearview mirror, it does little to help your buildings use energy more efficiently and, thus, reduce costs and forward your sustainability goals.

It also doesn’t help you make decisions proactively.

In an action-oriented environment, you’re afforded real-time energy data from meters so you can observe usage and pinpoint trends as they happen—not days or weeks later—and make improvements on the fly. Proactive steps can be taken to adjust usage in the moment to minimize waste and manage usage spikes.

Or consider indoor air quality (IAQ). Many systems either don’t monitor IAQ in real time (or at all). Most IAQ concerns come from employees voicing a concern, and facilities teams must scramble to respond.

But sensors that continually monitor IAQ allow your teams to proactively address air quality issues before employees are affected.

“When you start getting access to accurate, timely data, you have the right foundation to build out applications that solve specific sustainability‑related problems,” Ravichandar said. “Smart buildings are … the path to moving away from a report-centric culture to an action-oriented, solution-driven culture.”

Learn more

Watch the on-demand Washington Post Live segment featuring Ravichandar and other industry experts to learn more about the importance of combining data and smart building technology.

Then, find out how you can make your real estate more intelligent by talking with a proptech expert today.