Think 2030: AI for buildings: How to achieve ESG sustainability goals?

31.08.2021 by Carsten Kreutze

2030 is not terribly far off in the future. For the building sector, mammoth tasks lie ahead that require many small and lots of large steps and more than a handful of creative ideas. The pressure for companies to achieve sustainability goals and to act in an ESG-compliant manner is increasing dramatically, reinforced by the fact that climate targets have been sharpened even further. Germany is supposed to become climate neutral already by 2045, with 2030 being the next milestone. The task now is to act wisely, but above all to initiate appropriate measures quickly.

Energy efficiency measures are often expensive, when you think of facade restructuring or the replacement of technical systems. New approaches and innovative solutions are much needed to put real estate on a successful decarbonization path. The good news in all of this is the advancing connectivity in buildings, which opens up completely new possibilities and smart approaches to leverage green potential in real estate.

The green potential of existing properties

Existing buildings are a major force for CO2 reduction. They account for the vast majority of properties. In order for CO2 emissions from real estate in Germany to fall to zero by 2045, they must be almost halved by 2030. However, this can only be achieved if the potential of digital solutions is exploited on a large scale starting today, for example if HVAC systems are controlled efficiently and demand-driven using cloud-based solutions.

Use Case: CO₂ reduction with artificial intelligence

The self-learning control system energyControl automatically learns the building and system behavior and feeds it with forecasts. As weather, customer frequency, opening hours, etc. strongly influence the individual energy demand, they are proactively considered. The basis for everything is building data. All these complex correlations are connecte with the help of artificial intelligence, so that the very best result is implemented automatically. Each area of the building and each climate zone is therefore only supplied with as much energy as is in fact needed at any given time. In this way, HVAC systems consume up to 30% less energy, CO2 gets reduced respectively. Building owners and managers therefore add towards the "E" (Environment) of their ESG criteria.

Of maximum importance: Well-being in the building

In commercial properties such as office properties, hotels and retail, even more than a reduced energy consumption is crucial. At least as important is the individual comfort of the building users, employees and customers. Balancing both requirements is a major technical challenge, which can be excellently solved with AI support. The desired target values, e.g. for temperature or humidity, are permanently maintained, thus ensuring the perfect indoor climate.

Making real estate ready for a climate-neutral future

In 2030, commercial real estate will make a major contribution to achieving German and European climate targets. However, the CO₂-saving real estate of the future can only work if the possibilities of digitalization are fully exploited. Therefore: in order to achieve the greatest possible climate impact, mature digital technologies for energy optimization should be used promptly on a large scale in existing buildings to rapidly reduce CO2. These are becoming an increasingly demanded module for companies' sustainability strategies to complete the bundle of measures.

Carsten Kreutze is CEO of the GreenTech company Recogizer. Through smart data technology, he is putting buildings on the path to NetZero with Recogizer. The economist founded the innovative company in 2014 after many years of corporate and start-up experience.

Carsten Kreutze | Managing Director

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