In a world racing against time, nations are grappling with the urgent need to reduce emissions and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. Transitioning to renewable energy sources and maximising energy efficiency, particularly in the built environment, has emerged as a central component in this global effort.
The increasing focus on the role of the built environment in the energy transition is led by statistics. A much-shared statistic is that nearly 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions can be traced to constructing and maintaining buildings. Thus, to meet climate goals, cities must reduce their carbon footprint by 45%1. Climate solutions, such as energy-efficient designs, green spaces, and energy management, reside in our built environment. Hence, by optimising energy consumption across sectors, including building infrastructure, we reduce our carbon footprint and pave the way for a resilient future.
In the days ahead of COP28, a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Renewables Alliance found that we must triple the amount of renewable energy available and double energy efficiency improvements by 2030 to accelerate progress towards climate goals. On Saturday, 2 December, at COP, these targets were adopted by 118 governments in a Global Pledge on Renewables and Energy Efficiency as a route to cut the share of fossil fuels in the world’s energy production.
Monday, 4 December, set the scene for the built environment’s activities at COP. It gave a sneak preview of the annual Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, due out in March and presented at an event hosted by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. Once again, the findings are bleak, with the gap increasing between the sector’s current performance and where it should be to stay on track with the Paris Agreement. Notably, one critical statement was that the picture would be completely different if the industry moved significantly away from fossil fuels, once again highlighting the close alignment between the energy and real estate sectors in tackling climate goals. In fact, despite substantial investment, the real estate sector’s energy intensity has decreased by only 5% since 2015 and is 15% higher than the needed value to be on track.
One of the most effective ways to achieve energy efficiency in the built environment is by harnessing the power of transformative technology. Ecolibrium’s AI-powered decarbonisation platform, SmartSense, is one such marvel leveraging AI-ML algorithms and data science capabilities to facilitate energy efficiency in the built environment. It focuses on 3 aspects of energy optimisation – energy efficiency, energy analytics, and energy benchmarking, unleashing data-driven excellence.
Moreover, SmartSense AI houses 61+ ML algorithms assimilating 25 million data points daily. The solution holds the key to identifying areas of energy efficiency in the built environment, thereby reducing energy consumption and overall operational costs. Ecolibrium’s entry-level product SmartSense Discovery empowers an organisation to view the performance of its entire portfolio in real-time, creating a digital twin and enabling the first step in a cycle of continuous improvement. It also provides the foundation of an organisation’s Net Zero Carbon strategy, supporting their compliance reporting needs.
The symbiotic relationship between technology and energy efficiency holds immense potential for fostering operational excellence. Utilising innovative solutions like SmartSense mitigates environmental impact, streamlines processes, reduces costs and enhances productivity.
Stakeholders worldwide will be looking to leaders at COP28 to implement effective measures and enable collaboration and investments in climate technology transcending borders, mainly focusing on building technological capacity in developing nations. To support this, from 4-8 December, Climate Action’s Innovation Zone will aim to mobilise the innovation ecosystem to facilitate concrete climate action at COP28. This includes an exhibition to showcase startups and scale-ups plus proven technologies, solutions, and services that can accelerate the speed and scale of the low-carbon transition and build climate resilience.
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 support the transition to decarbonise our world is critical.
1 Editorial Staff, 2023. For a net zero and resilient built environment. BUILDING TO COP28, online. https://buildingtocop.org/