Buildings Buzz

Modernization and the Path to Energy Efficiency

A recent survey of decision-makers at U.S. companies conducted by Schneider Electric uncovered that 93 percent of respondents agree that infrastructure upgrades and modernization projects are an important priority to their business. Building modernization projects also ranked as one of the top three types of modernization projects that bring the most impact to their business.

The average commercial building in the U.S. today is over 70 years old and many are comprised of an assortment of incompatible legacy systems, proprietary system architectures and dysfunctional operating processes. The buildings that stand today aren’t going anywhere either. According to the International Energy Agency, 50 percent of existing buildings will still be standing in 2050.

Factoring in these numbers, it’s no wonder that building modernization is viewed as a business imperative. How do we now move from talk of modernization to execution?

Evaluation is an important starting point. It’s critical to assess current needs of the building and technologies in place that can be maximized and integrated to drive new levels of efficiency. Giving consideration to future possible uses of your facility should also be factored in. From there, develop and implement an action plan that includes training facility staff, regularly checking performance and continually evaluating results.

Our survey found that interest in efficiency projects is on the rise with more than half of respondents projecting their investment in energy efficiency next year will be more than last year. Commercial buildings are a huge consumer of energy and beyond driving up to 30 percent energy savings, modernization efforts can bring broader operational efficiency for your organization.

Interested in getting started? Consider the following steps for ensuring a path to efficiency:

  • Address technological complexity – Businesses must manage the challenges presented by the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) which include managing complex technology, security and analyzing data.
  • Manage aging infrastructure – With 51 percent of respondents believing that infrastructure modernization is an important business priority, business leaders are tasked with identifying areas that will reap the greatest efficiency gains. Additionally, respondents said electrical systems, traffic/transportation systems and telecommunications are the public infrastructure modernization projects that are most impactful on their business. 

Jim Sandelin is senior vice president, Buildings Business at Schneider Electric.

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