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How can sustainability software help real estate save energy? 

by Helen Patenall 17-01-2023

Investing in energy-saving sustainability software helps combat your surging energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint. Energy data insight, visual dashboards, and strategic action plans interact to optimise your energy usage, drive cost savings, and deliver a clear roadmap for net zero compliance and resilient assets. 

What is sustainability software? 

Sustainability software reveals a detailed analysis of your energy consumption and carbon footprint, equipping you with the knowledge you need to streamline operations, make fast data-driven decisions, and safeguard your assets from fluctuating energy markets and environmental risks. Tightening your energy belt is a smart financial move, while tracking carbon emissions optimises your net zero roadmap for resilient assets. 

When combined with expert energy management consultancy services and green finance, sustainability software not only trims your energy consumption and carbon output but leverages a sustainable advantage in commercial real estate. Getting more done with less on one purpose-built platform delivers multiple business benefits for and beyond sustainable energy-saving. Here’s how. 

How does sustainability software slash energy? 

Leverage data insight to save energy consumption 

Incorporating sustainability software into your business strategy is like having a powerful ally in your corner, who’s dedicated to optimising your energy consumption. Gathering data from several energy sources, like automatic meter readings (AMRs), sensors, and power monitoring software (PMS), sustainability technology keeps vigil over your energy usage. Whether you’re tracking energy metrics in real-time or at quarterly intervals, sustainability software automatically notifies your sustainability and asset teams when energy levels reach a specific threshold or when there’s a potential problem. Readily available data and alerts support responsive decision-making to save energy consumption, waste, and expenses. 

Imagine being able to compare your current energy habits with those of the past. Sustainability platforms do just that. Importing legacy and current data, sustainability software verifies and analyses energy consumption, water usage, waste treatment, and carbon emission timeframes to deliver a comprehensive overview of your sustainability operations. Finding changes in energy consumption and associated metrics supports better understanding of what’s causing those shifts over time, so you can take immediate corrective action to enhance underperforming assets threatening to affect your fund or portfolio. Robust data acquisition and validation pinpoints these “offending energy zones” to improve your high energy-consuming assets. 

At EVORA Global, our purpose-built SIERA sustainability platform centralises Action Plans for collaboration, visibility, and shared responsibility. Action Plans enable business teams to target asset energy consumption, track improvements over time, and strengthen responsive budgeting. Its sustainability software highlights emerging risk factors and identifies any inactivity threatening to jeopardise your progress towards achieving predetermined energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. Your top five sustainability impact categories are also visually highlighted to prioritise sustainability strategies. 

As AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), and NLP (Natural Language Processing) technologies advance, your sustainability data collections could generate scenario-based models and directly evaluate your progress against Paris Climate Agreement and Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) targets. For example, an upcoming release of our SIERA platform will feature a CRREM-aligned Net Zero Carbon (NZC) feature to supply transparent, science-based decarbonisation pathways that aim to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and set targets for future timeframes for both environmental elements. 

Accessing and tracking sustainability data helps your real estate business anticipate changes in energy consumption trends to proactively respond to disruptive energy markets or supply chains. This informs smart financial budgeting. When selecting a market-leading sustainability software platform, it’s important to focus on automated sustainability data monitoring to keep up to date on changing energy costs. It’s a key driver for adaptive and resilient energy-saving decisions. Added to this, when your current performance and potential new improvements are clearly outlined in your sustainability software platform, alongside cost-savings, your business can better prepare, adapt, and control its energy consumption. 

It’s also crucial to ensure your energy-saving efforts are informed by accurate and reliable data, so pay heed to the adage “garbage in, garbage out” – low quality data generates inferior data insight. Sustainability software can review energy consumption data for all your assets to find data gaps or inconsistencies, and then recommend steps to address these weak points to deliver robust energy data collections worth their weight in gold. 

Visualise your energy data to maximise energy savings 

Sustainability software visually represents your valuable energy consumption, waste, and carbon emission data insight to display visual energy profiles. And handy dashboards highlight abnormal consumption trends or events for immediate attention. For example, SIERA detects anomalies in utility consumption patterns, which could relate to damaged or inefficient appliances using more energy than necessary. By finding these energy-draining operations and areas of waste, your real estate business can optimise its energy usage, reduce its energy waste, and improve its overall environmental impact. 

Track your energy emissions data to optimise your NZC roadmap 

Sustainability software helps real estate businesses capture, track, and measure scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions to accurately measure GHG emissions and achieve climate commitments. According to Closing the Climate Action Gap by BCG, only 9% of organisations measure their total emissions comprehensively, while 81% omit some scope 1 and 2 emissions, and 66% do not report any scope 3 emissions. Organisations also estimate an average error rate of 30-40% in their measurement. Without a complete understanding of your emissions, it can be difficult to set meaningful reduction priorities and track progress. 

Likewise, the GRESB 2022 Real Estate Assessment Results reveal a “slight decrease in energy, GHG, and water scores as a result of real estate portfolios returning to a pre-COVID-19 state of operations” and highlights that the “like-for-like (LFL) increase in energy consumption is most significant in Europe (3% LFL consumption change)” for real estate and investment funds. Going forward, energy and water consumption need to be kept in check. Sustainability software automates GHG data ingestion, tracking, and performance to set achievable reduction targets, helping businesses streamline operations and processes to advance climate commitments. 

Reducing direct and indirect emissions and saving energy consumption is also achieved by implementing physical energy-efficient measures. For example, lighting sensors and motion detectors identify uninhabited areas to control the right amount of light at the right time (daylight harvesting) and switch off idle electrical equipment. Investing in renewable energy sources like UV Solar or purchasing renewable energy from offsite wind turbines is key. Encouraging fuel-efficient vehicles, carpooling or alternative transport, and installing onsite EV (Electric Vehicle) car and bike charging stations helps. Implementing waste reduction and recycling, promoting sustainable practices across supply chains, installing insulation, energy-efficient windows, and high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems all contribute to energy-saving, but these tactics are beyond the scope of this blog. 

Report your energy data for energy-efficiency compliance 

Conserving energy in your commercial assets also promotes compliance with energy-efficiency regulations and standards. Automated sustainability software generates auditable energy consumption reports and audits to find energy-saving opportunities. In England and Wales, regulations for Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) mandates that all new commercial property leases must reach a minimum E energy rating or risk penalties. These fines can range from 10% of the property’s rateable value, with a minimum fine of £5,000 and a maximum of £50,000. Starting April 2023, these minimum energy ratings and penalties will apply to all (not only new) leases. Furthermore, MEES is expected to become more stringent over coming years, uplevelling the threshold to a minimum C rating by 2027 and a B rating by 2030. 

To comply with these regulations and avoid penalties, it’s crucial to evaluate your real estate assets now and find those that fail to meet current or imminent new standards. Planning and budgeting for energy-saving upgrades and obtaining necessary approvals are core considerations. Sustainability software can supply Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) to prioritise your energy-efficiency measures, improve your asset value, and mitigate fines. 

Step beyond energy saving to build better assets 

Investing in sustainability software is a smart strategy to save energy and associated consumption or waste generation. It reduces your costs, improves your sustainability performance, and shows your commitment to protecting our planet. At EVORA Global, we’re always developing our SIERA sustainability software and expert consultancy services to help make your buildings more productive, profitable, and resilient to change. 

Don’t fall behind in sustainability technology. Contact the SIERA team (hello@sieraglobal.com) to find out how SIERA can reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions to future-proof your real estate assets. 

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