Connectivity: A Sustainable Foundation for Buildings
September 15, 2020
Read how connected buildings are serving as the gateway to bold thinking and operations as we lead our industry into a new age of sustainability.
10 min read
Imagine this: a building that continuously learns, adapts and improves, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy savings. A building with highly efficient HVAC and integrated controls systems capable of yielding insightful data that helps building owners manage productivity and comfort - while making the right decisions for their facilities and the planet.
We are leading our industry into a new age of sustainability – with connected buildings serving as the gateway to bold thinking and operations – all in line with our 2030 Commitments.
Buildings consume about 40% of the energy produced in the United States. A third of that energy use comes from heating and cooling. With HVAC demand expected to triple by 2050, connected buildings that utilize digital controls will play a crucial role in ongoing efficient energy management and sustainable building operations.
This connectivity will play an integral role in our Gigaton Challenge, which pledges to reduce our customer carbon footprint by one Gigaton of CO2e by 2030 – the equivalent of 2% of the world’s GHGs. To meaningfully reduce these emissions, we will rise to the challenge of innovating even more connected buildings solutions – accelerating decarbonization and aiding in the transformation to net-zero buildings. The connectedness of equipment and systems will progressively make our calculations and success in the Gigaton Challenge very straightforward.
As we recognize and respond to global megatrends like resource constraints and changing workforce dynamics, the question of what’s possible in the connected buildings space, especially as it relates to new technologies and innovative solutions, cannot be overstated. The ability to remotely analyze and address issues such as air flow, humidity and air quality is increasingly important. The data gathered from each unique facility gives us the strongest look into its specific performance needs, and how to increase sustainability through holistic solutions.
Crosstown Concourse sits in the heart of the Crosstown neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee, and knows a thing or two about the value of connectivity. The multi-story, 1.5 million square foot mixed use development is one of the most complex buildings in the city, with a crucial need for remote support.
The facility’s development team wanted the building to serve as a catalyst for growth in the arts, education and healthcare – and knew that creating a financially and environmentally sustainable ‘vertical urban village’ would play a key role in revitalizing the neighborhood. After selecting Trane as their sustainability, systems and building controls partner, a cohesive effort was launched to identify the most efficient, holistic design for the project.
Over 1,200 pieces of connected equipment, including the Trane Tracer® Ensemble™, a highly efficient, cloud-based building management system, and about 100 energy meters were installed throughout the facility’s buildings. All were utilized to optimize daily operations, track and bill tenant energy use, troubleshoot issues, establish scheduling and make setpoint changes. The system also employed Trane Intelligent Services for data analysis, to uncover more energy saving opportunities, provide recommendations on optimizing equipment performance, and reduce operational costs and carbon emissions.
To date, Crosstown Concourse’s energy costs and carbon emissions – driven by advanced, real-time analytics – has reduced 3 percent year-over-year since the building’s 2017 re-opening. The facility is on track to save $760,000 in annual utility costs and 8,400 tons of carbon emissions per year compared to LEED baseline. These savings and efficiencies will help power community growth for generations to come.
“Increasing this facility’s performance means putting more money back into the community, where the true impact is realized,” said Bradley Wilford, vice president of asset management for Commercial Advisors, the property management firm who oversees the Crosstown project. “The revitalization of this neighborhood is what has, and will continue to, measure the success of Crosstown Concourse in the future.”
A once dormant building, sitting idly for almost 20 years, is now a thriving, vibrant mecca for all walks of life and businesses.
It’s time to take action and secure a sustainable future through connected buildings so they don’t become relics of a less sustainable past. We’re leading our industry and changing the world – one building at a time – through bold 2030 Commitments, innovating every major facet of our business.
“Increasing this facility’s performance means putting more money back into the community, where the true impact is realized”
Vice President of asset management for Commercial Advisors
A potential climate crisis looms in the not-too-distant future. The concentration of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere grows at an unchecked rate. If this trend continues unhindered, big problems lie ahead for us all. We're here to challenge what's possible in the critical decade ahead. Our landmark promise: The Gigaton Challenge. We are committed to helping our customers achieve a cumulative 1 gigaton reduction in their carbon footprint by the year 2030. And we are challenging our industry and the rest of the world to join us. How big is a gigaton? One billion metric tons of emissions. It is equivalent to the entire annual emissions of France, Italy, and the United Kingdom combined. It's a big goal, but we are optimistic and ambitious. The need for climate action has never been more urgent. Bold action has to start now to bend the curve against catastrophic global warming. Heating and cooling buildings, as well as transporting refrigerated goods, contributes almost to one fourth of the total global carbon emissions. To push this curve down, our solutions help reduce the overall energy required to power the critical infrastructure our world depends on. Through innovation, we are advancing technologies to expedite the transition to a cleaner, safer, and healthier energy production future. We've deployed low-global warming potential refrigerants and are accelerating clean technologies to address these trends ahead of regulations. With low footprint and connected transport solutions, we reduce loss in the cold chain ensuring precious resources like food and medicine make it to their destinations and people who need it. Our customers trust us to help them build safer, more resilient, and efficient operations. We know we can meet the call while also providing positive outcomes for the environment. Sustainability is at the center of our business and we are standing at the forefront of a movement to solve global climate crisis. We are proud to be Trane Technologies.
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This article originally published in Forbes Tech Council.