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Renewables must combine with technology to achieve greener buildings

23rd June 2023

Amongst a sea of worrying reports from climate scientists, there has been more positive news on the green energy transition. The recent Global Electricity Review 2023 from Ember found that clean electricity sources, comprising both renewable and nuclear power, totalled 39% of total global electricity production.  

Moreover, the report also suggests climate emissions may have peaked in 2022 and may begin to decline. In terms of fossil fuel generation, the report found that coal power grew only by 1.1% and gas power generation fell about 0.2%, the second decline in three years. Much of the positive shift can be attributed to a rise in wind and solar energy which has reached a record 12% of global electricity production.  

However, renewables are just one component that should be progressed. Efforts should also focus on reducing energy usage and using energy more efficiently. Earlier this month, a report from McKinsey & Company titled Building value by decarbonising the built environment highlighted how existing technology can reduce emissions by more than 50% by 2030. 

The report looked at more than 1,000 potential decarbonisation interventions for the built environment and identifies what it says are 30 of the best levers for change in the near term. 

When it comes to reducing and using energy more efficiently, digital technologies have a huge potential to make an impact. In particular, decision-making technologies which augment human intelligence and sensing and control technologies which collect data and alter physical processes to be more sustainable. 

For example, Ecolibrium’s SmartSense AI tool assimilates thousands of IoT data points and creates a digital twin, offering insights into energy cost, usage, and carbon intensity. Utilising AI and machine learning, SmartSense establishes an optimised baseline, identifies abnormal consumption, benchmarks assets against set KPI’s, and provides a roadmap for continuous improvements towards net zero. 

Collectively, data-rich digital twin solutions can solve a huge number of issues by doing things such as identifying excessive energy consumption and providing predictive maintenance by early identification of failing on-site energy equipment. Companies can also simulate and test performance.

At a time when ESG stewardship is competing for attention with economic pressures and stretched resources, leaning on tech-driven energy efficiencies to drive down costs and help support the transition to renewables and decarbonise the built environment is a clear win. 

Chintan Soni, is founder and CEO of Ecolibrium

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