A green building with a triangle in the middle.

LEEDing by Example: Creating Better Buildings

by Margaret Naughton

The previous blog in this series discussed the trends of building digitization. Today, we are looking at the role that legislation and governments have to play in the future of intelligent buildings.

The European Commission has set forth a climate target plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, to position Europe on a trajectory to becoming climate neutral by 20501. To bring emissions 55% below 1990 levels by 2030, all parts of society have a role to play from the power sector to industry, mobility, buildings, and more to achieve these targets. In this blog, we consider the role buildings have to play in climate change, given that buildings are responsible for approximately 26% of all energy related CO2 emissions in the world, with 18% of those emissions attributed to electricity and heating during building operation2.

 As well as policies around climate change initiatives, many countries have seen multiple green building rating systems created. Let’s take LEED for example. LEED which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system that doesn’t just focus on one building element, such as energy or water, instead, it looks at all critical elements that together create the best building possible. LEED credits relate to building features that mitigate negativity impacting climate change, human health, water resources, biodiversity, etc… and has a classification for all building types and building phases (new construction, interior fit outs, operations, maintenance, and more.)

 When Analog Devices was expanding its European Research & Development (R&D) base in Ireland, with the creation of a new state-of-the-art building, ensuring that the building met these criteria was a key focus for the build and the full lifetime operation of the building. ADI’s new R&D facility became Ireland's first LEED Platinum-certified office building, giving it the highest accreditation possible.

While the climate crisis is the defining challenge of our time, technology is in a position like never before to have a global impact on change in this fight. Working in an adaptive environment ensures the building is perfectly balanced to cater to a full office of activity and adjusts throughout the day as people move around doing their daily work. The technology behind this seamless operation is key, no matter how ambitious government policies become to tackle climate change, the underlying technology that ensures these targets are achievable is what makes a difference today.

Let’s look at how technology is enabling the digital transformation of buildings. We now take for granted smart lighting, automatic operations like blind control and water management in taps for hand washing, and the centralized management of room temperature and air-conditioning levels. Have you ever thought about the level of expertise needed to ensure efficient motor control, to design for optimal power management, the variety of sensing methods needed to perform these tasks – temperature, humidity, etc. and the technology that connects all these systems to a central building management system? This technology surrounds us every day and ensures reduced energy and resource consumption across all aspects of the building operation. With the support of government incentives and a global drive to create better buildings, the net-zero future is ever closer but without a matching level of innovation in technology to support the digital transformation these targets would be unreachable.

In the US, it is estimated that only 21% of the current building stock is green. New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) will begin enforcing carbon caps in 2024, known as Local Law 97, for all buildings within the city that are 25,000 square feet or larger to reduce their carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 20503. This is one of the most ambitious plans for reducing emissions in the US, but this proves that the sector is primed and has enough incentive to avoid paying a large tax bill to begin to improve the building management and resource utilization of new and existing buildings. 

Start your building digital transformation with ADI’s technology supporting you all the way, from building automation solutions to environmental monitoring capabilities. Interested in learning more visit analog.com/intelligentbuildings

See the next blog in this series here.