Urgent Action on the Agenda at Climate Week NYC
September 25, 2020
10 min read
As I reflect on the virtual discussions and events held over the last several days at Climate Week NYC, I’m more confident than ever to say we have the energy and enthusiasm to look at the world’s climate challenges, and see possibilities.
The importance of indoor air quality was among many urgent topics covered this week. The connection between indoor environmental quality (IEQ), human health and sustainability are all imperative components for resilient and strong communities, economies and the environment. It also underscores the importance of our newly announced Center for Healthy and Efficient Spaces (CHES) to serve as a catalyst for addressing issues tied to the effect that IEQ can have on the health and well-being of people in indoor spaces - without compromising energy efficiency and the impact on the planet.
Optimizing the balance between comfort, health and energy consumption depends on building intelligence and connectivity – the driving forces behind a facility’s sustainability, and another key point of discussion during Climate Week.
Trane Technologies, through our strategic Trane® brand, is focused on creating smart, efficient buildings to reduce carbon emissions. With more than 20,000 connected buildings in the U.S. and Europe, and nearly 1 million pieces of connected equipment, we’re constantly analyzing unique, detailed data on how a building is performing, where improvements can be made, and how to make them happen. This helps us play a vital part in overall increased sustainability, especially as we look at accelerating decarbonization and the transformation to carbon neutral buildings.
In the next 10 years, we’ll see increased availability of connectivity, and data driving real-time action. That will change the industry, and will be the motivating force behind operating smarter, more cost-effective and high-performing buildings. A “disconnected” building will become a relic in the near future.
"I’m reinvigorated to think bigger and act bolder – and I encourage everyone to rise to the challenge on confronting climate change with us."
President and Chief Operating Officer, Trane Technologies
Big ideas mean nothing if you don’t make them happen.
Global change starts with the courage to act. On the heels of Climate Week NYC, I’m reinvigorated to think bigger and act bolder – and I encourage everyone to rise to the challenge on confronting climate change with us.
Hi, I'm here with Dave Regnery. He's the President and Chief Operating Officer of Trane Technologies. Delighted to have you here this morning. So, what is the message that Trane Technologies is trying to convey this year at Climate Week?
Well, thanks for having us here Amy. This is our second year at Climate Week and we're excited to be back. The main message that we have - really two messages this year that we'd like to convey. First off, we know that 15% of the world's carbon comes from heating and cooling buildings and at Trane Technologies we also know that most buildings operate inefficiently; they don't operate at the designed state. We've done hundreds of thousands of energy audits in buildings globally and we know that most buildings operate about 30% inefficiently, so just imagine the impact that we could have if we can get all buildings to operate at least as the way they were designed.
Later this week I'm going to be talking on a panel about smart buildings and, you know, connected buildings - buildings that you're able to continuously monitor to always understand how they're performing - are the most efficient buildings that we see. We're able to dial in what's happening in a building and being able to access information to make that building more intelligent every day. You know, years ago, we used to have technicians that would be deployed to buildings when a unit was down. Today, we deploy technicians to buildings when they're not operating at the designed state from an energy consumption standpoint. At Trane Technologies, we just passed a milestone; we have over 20,000 connected buildings and over 1 million pieces of connected equipment, so we're super excited about being here today.
The second message that we'd like to convey is, you know, now more than ever, indoor spaces are in spotlights as building managers work to ensure safe and healthy environments for the occupancies. You know, indoor air quality is not anything new to Trane Technologies; it's not the latest fad that we're seeing. In fact, at Trane Technologies we've been experts in helping our customers manage the quality of indoor air for decades and there's a lot of science around indoor air and we have a whole process to look systematically at a building and really help our customers assess the quality of their indoor air and how we can make it better.
Well, fantastic, yeah. It's so important, I mean, obviously, just the intelligent building is critical, um, and just the ability for us to drive down emissions through that that sort of “smart system,” especially in our COVID world today. So, how is your company setting out to achieve your carbon reductions and help meet the Paris Agreement goals?
Yeah, at Trane Technologies, you know, with our leading brands of Trane and Thermo King, um, you know, we bring efficient and sustainable heating and cooling solutions to buildings, homes, and transportation globally. Sustainability to Trane Technologies is, it's not something just like a nice-to-do, it's everything we do. It's the way we talk with our customers, it's the way we engage our employees. Last year, we announced our 2030 sustainability commitments, which are leading us into the future. And, just to highlight a few of the commitments that we've made: we've committed to having carbon neutrality for all of our operations, we've committed to a 10% absolute energy reduction, we've issued our Gigaton Challenge pledging to reduce our customers’ CO2 by one gigaton, which is two percent of the world's annual emissions. You know, beyond environmental sustainability commitments, we've also committed to gender parity in our leadership ranks and we've committed to racial and ethnic diversity within all levels of our company. So, we continue to work towards our commitments that we've made, we're making great progress, we're in our second year, and, uh, we're excited to, uh, be able to report out, um, hopefully very soon some of the, some of the details that we're working on.
Yeah, great, and you're also members of both our RE100 and EP100 campaigns, so thank you.
Yes, we are, and we're very excited about being part of those.
For that leadership, right. So, I mean, you touched on this a little bit, but how have the events of 2020 sort of changed how Trane Technologies is, you know, confronting climate change?
Well, I think the impact of COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the world, not just Trane Technologies. I would tell you at Trane Technologies, we made the decision at the end of the first quarter that we were going to shut down all of our operations until we can make sure that we had a very safe environment for our employees to work in. And, uh, we took, uh, the lead from Asia, which was probably 6-8 weeks ahead of the western world, uh, as to what they were working on, and, uh, we had to reconfigure all of our factories and basically, you know, partitions and figuring out how line rates would change and our number one concern was our employees. We wanted to make sure we had a safe environment and we took painstaking detail events to make sure that that in fact happened. Today, I'm happy to say all of our operations are up and running. We've developed proper protocols and, uh, our employees have a very safe environment in which they can, in which they can work in.
Our commitments haven't changed that we made. Our 2030, uh, commitments are still there; we're making progress toward them. I would tell you that indoor air quality has certainly got a lot more focus and, um, as I said earlier, we take a very layered approach as to how we work with our customers on ensuring a healthy building. And, uh, you know, the first process that we do is we go in and we make sure that all the equipment is operating at a designed state. You'd be surprised how many buildings have equipment that isn't operating the way it's supposed to be operating and then we then we sit there we do we do a lot of analysis between indoor air exchanges bringing in more fresh air and filtration, both of which use more energy. If you're going to bring in more fresh air from the outside, obviously, that consumes energy. If you're going to increase the level of filtration within your building, that uses more energy. What we've been able to do is we develop energy conservation measures outside of those two areas to really be able to offset some of the additional energy to make your building more healthy.
The fourth area that that we touch on quite a bit is intelligence and that's the fact that, you know, whether you're remotely connected to a building or how you make that building smarter to make it more energy efficient and to make it healthier. You know, an easy example to think about is, um, in a building, like in a cafeteria, many hours during the day the cafeteria is not occupied, but when it is occupied how do you react? How do you make that building react? How do you increase the amount of fresh air that’s going into that space so that as the occupancy level goes up, the air quality remains healthy? So, there's a lot of science around indoor air quality. It's not a fad to Trane Technologies, but I really encourage everyone that's listening that please, if you want your building be healthier, make sure you have experts like Trane Technologies come in and look at a whole system- systematic view of it. It’s not a single element you need to look at. You need to look at the entire system and make trade-offs to make sure you have an energy efficient and a healthy building.
Fantastic; thank you. So, um, last question for you, then. Why is Trane Technologies participating in climate week this year, and, how does this event help you maintain the momentum for climate change?
That's a great question. You know, at Trane Technologies, we believe that one company can help change an industry and one industry can help change the world. And, you know, this year we're participating in the panel around smart buildings. We know that, uh, you know, kind of one of the catalysts of COVID is that more people, more customers, understand the power being remotely connected to their building. Um, so, we're getting a lot of interest in that space right now. And, you know, it's really about how technology can enable productivity as well as, um, making that building more efficient. We recognize that, you know, in tomorrow's status we will depend on collaboration and partnerships. We know that we can't do everything ourselves and we really appreciate the focus of Climate Week and bringing these issues together. And, you know, I wish we were together face-to-face because I love networking with others and being able to find how we could come up, collaboratively, with better solutions for customers and more efficient, uh, solutions that could really help bend the curve on global warming. So, thanks for having us here. We're excited to be here and look forward to our panel discussion later in the week.
Thanks, Dave. It's terrific. We're delighted to have Trane join us again for Climate Week and thank you for everything that you're doing to keep us safe and to reduce our carbon emissions. Thank you.
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