Proptech and energy management

Proptech for Energy Management: Working Towards Sustainable Buildings

Proptech, the integration of property and technology, is a huge trend in property management. It refers to technology used by real estate professionals or property managers to manage their facilities on a day to day basis and gain operational efficiency.

That definition is as broad as it’s realistic. That’s because managing a building entails a large number of actions, and so do the technologies developed to help with those tasks. We could say one of the main reasons why proptech solutions have grown rapidly is because they help tackle key problems by saving time, avoiding repetitive tasks and automating processes.

In this article we’ll take a look at proptech solutions, what energy management and the role of AI.

The Evolution of Proptech

The Real Estate industry has leveraged the help of technology and tools for a long time. From the early days of using Excel or databases for management, we have come a long way. Like everything nowadays, professional services rely on technology, software applications that can help being more organized and resolve some inefficiencies at work.

As it emerged, proptech became a huge disruptor for the real estate market. There are technology tools for every step of the job, from buying to leasing, to billing, to renovating, to measuring occupancy, to handling light and domotics… the list is long. Tons of solutions fall under the proptech umbrella. Today we may not call it a disruptor anymore, but it is still growing and stabilising and there is a large market of solutions to handle real estate efficiently. It is the example of the Spacewell solutions, but there’s much more. For example, there is a European association for proptech called Proptech house, focusing on sharing knowledge, standardising and facilitate funding. And the proptech landscape is closely followed by large companies like PWC.

This is in line with the moment we’re living through accelerated digitalisation, the growth of smart buildings, connectivity and IoT, etc… so let’s delve into some of these aspects. 

Energy Management and Proptech

Energy Management is also highly impacted by technology. As mentioned above, proptech is tech applied to property to gain efficiency… so an Energy Management System can indeed be considered proptech.

Why? Because it’s a technology applied directly to the management of buildings, in order to leverage technology to obtain better results. How? By monitoring and analysing the energy usage and achieving energy efficient and sustainable buildings. You could say they overlap, if you don’t like the idea of energy management falling under proptech, but we can conclude that they are definitely intertwined.

Energy Management Systems (EMS) are sophisticated solutions designed to monitor, control, and optimise energy usage in any type of building. These systems are crucial in reducing energy consumption, costs, and carbon emissions – the capabilities of an EMS are extensive. An EMS involves real-time analysis and processing of energy data, enabling energy managers to make informed decisions. By centralising data from multiple sources, such as utility bills and IoT sensors, EMS provides a comprehensive view of energy performance. This data-driven approach fosters a culture of efficient energy management, often adhering to the ISO 50001 standard.

EMS platforms, like Spacewell Energy, empower facility managers to proactively monitor and reduce energy consumption. By gathering data from various sources, these systems ensure a holistic approach to energy management. Ultimately, EMS not only improves operational efficiency but also contributes to sustainability goals.

The Technology behind Energy Management

There is a lot of real estate technology behind smart buildings and modern energy management. Let’s see some of them.

Smart Metering and Real-Time Energy Monitoring

Smart metering and real-time energy monitoring are an important element in modern energy management. These technologies enable precise tracking and management of energy consumption, leading to substantial energy savings and promoting sustainability.

Smart meters are advanced devices that provide real-time data on energy usage, empowering consumers to make informed decisions about their consumption patterns. This immediate feedback helps identify inefficiencies, allowing for quick adjustments and significant reductions in energy use.

Intelligent Lighting Systems

Intelligent lighting systems offer significant benefits in energy efficiency, sustainability, and occupant comfort. By integrating advanced technologies such as LEDs, sensors, and data management, these systems create dynamic, human-centric environments that enhance well-being and productivity.

The evolution of LEDs has been central in the development of smart lighting solutions. As LEDs replaced traditional fluorescent lighting, the incorporation of digital control technology became feasible. This led to high-performance dimming, automated shading, and tunable white solutions, enabling engineers and designers to deliver energy-efficient and comfortable spaces.

Building Energy Modeling (BEM)

Building Energy Modeling (BEM) is a high level tool in the proptech landscape, particularly for energy management in commercial real estate. BEM utilizes physics-based simulation software to predict and analyze a building’s energy use, offering a comprehensive approach to optimizing energy efficiency and sustainability.

Renewable Energy Integration

We’re not going to say that renewable energy is proptech, but it surely is one thing that can gain importance as we continue to focus on Net Zero and Smart buildings. By developing further generating capabilities on-site, and with the expected evolution of energy storage, its importance may grow.

Research and development by organizations like the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) are key in overcoming these challenges. Their work includes optimizing grid capabilities, investigating new transmission and storage technologies, and developing advanced grid management systems.

Implementing Effective Energy Management Solutions in Real Estate

Assessing Building Energy Needs

Assessing building energy needs is a critical step in effective energy management in real estate. Understanding a building’s energy consumption patterns is essential for reducing costs, enhancing sustainability, and improving occupant comfort. This process involves evaluating various factors, including building design, operational practices, use of energy and environmental conditions.

One of the primary methods for assessing energy needs is conducting comprehensive energy audits. These audits identify inefficiencies and provide actionable recommendations for improvement.

You can analyse energy data to make informed decisions with data from existing meters and energy contracts. And you can go further into your monitoring by implementing sensor technologies and IoT devices to allow for real-time monitoring of energy use. This data-driven approach ensures that energy management strategies are both effective and sustainable, ultimately contributing to a building’s overall performance.

Integrating with Existing Infrastructure

Even if they aren’t specifically designed for energy management, other technology solutions like BMS, CMMS, or SCADA in the industrial sector can be integrated into an energy management solution to maximise the data monitoring and make informed decisions. 

This process involves combining data from multiple existing sources to identify patterns, baselines and areas of improvement. By doing so, property managers can achieve comprehensive oversight and optimisation of energy usage.

The benefits of such integration are manifold. It enhances operational efficiency, reduces costs, and improves the overall user experience. Besides energy management, integration can also help with predictive maintenance, as well as to identify inefficiencies, failures in the system, etc.

However, integration is not without its challenges. Differences in technology, data formats, and institutional practices can complicate the process. Addressing these issues requires a holistic approach that considers technological compatibility, policy alignment, and user needs. Implementing a user-centric design and ensuring robust cybersecurity measures are essential to protect sensitive data and facilitate seamless collaboration.

An Energy Management Solution like Spacewell Energy easily integrated with other solutions and obtains data from any hardware, making it a potential candidate for the energy management of your facilities.

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Choosing the Best Energy Management Software

Choosing the right energy management software is a critical decision for any organisation aiming to optimize energy consumption and reduce costs. With the global energy management systems (EMS) market growing rapidly, it’s essential to consider several key factors to ensure you select the best solution for your needs:

  • Functionality and Integration. Look for software that seamlessly integrates with your existing building systems, such as HVAC, lighting, and energy meters. Advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities are crucial for predicting energy usage patterns and identifying savings opportunities.
  • User Experience and Ease of Use. Opt for software with an intuitive interface that is easy to deploy and use. Scalability and adaptability to new technologies are also important, as is the ability to customize dashboards for better visualization of energy data.
  • Data Management and Quality. Ensure the software can collect and analyse data from multiple sources. That includes data collection and data organisation and visualisation. Data helps you make solid decisions based on evidence, so the more data you have in an organised manner, the better.
  • Vendor Expertise and Support. Research vendors with a proven track record in energy management and a commitment to ongoing innovation. Evaluate the level of customer support and training provided to ensure successful implementation and continuous use of the software.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select an energy management software that aligns with your organisation’s specific needs, leading to significant energy savings and cost reductions. At Spacewell Energy we’re happy to help you make your decision, and we encourage you to evaluate those key aspects from any potential supplier.

The Future of Energy Management in Proptech

Increased Adoption of AI and IoT

Automation and Artificial Intelligence are present in many proptech solutions. You could argue that they are trendy words and you may be right, but they are clearly part of the value of proptech, as it allows you to automate some tasks. The technology analyses data constantly and with a set of predefined parameters and constant input, identifies for example when the consumption is different from normal, changes of patterns, etc.

That is something that a person could do but dedicating more time and effort, so automating some tasks can definitely make you faster and more efficient with part of your job.

AI-equipped smart sensors enable real-time monitoring of energy consumption, structural health, and environmental conditions in buildings. This real-time data collection allows for predictive maintenance too, reducing downtime and maintenance costs while enhancing overall efficiency. AI-driven analytics optimise resource allocation and can help you optimise your management.

Concerns over Cybersecurity and Data Management

Technology applied to the real estate industry also has its own operational challenges. Any proptech claiming to help customers needs to back those claims with the correct technology, certifications or procedures to ensure that data is managed and stored safely. Why? To ensure smooth operations and to avoid malfunctions or incorrect analysis.

As buildings become more connected, they are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats that can compromise energy management and overall operations. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures, such as secure networks, regular penetration tests, and employee awareness programs, is essential to mitigate these risks. The proliferation of IoT devices in energy management expands the attack surface, making it more challenging to ensure cybersecurity. A comprehensive approach, including secure device design, network segmentation, and continuous monitoring, is necessary to prevent and respond to cyber threats effectively.

Want to know more about energy management and how to leverage technology to save costs? Get in touch with us or download our guide about choosing the right EMS.

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