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Optimised advantage

Mike Darby, CEO and Co-Founder of Demand Logic explains the advantages of using optimised Building Management Systems solutions to help reduce carbon emissions in buildings

Currently, construction and operations in the built environment are responsible for 26 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions(i) according to research from McKinsey. While this is lower than it was a year ago, it’s still a cause for concern. Furthermore, new regulations, such as changes to Energy Performance Certificates, mean buildings will naturally have to start taking steps towards net zero and it’s predicted that it will only get stricter. So, businesses that are prepared to be a step ahead of the curve will likely end up on top.

Alongside this, in the past two years, some energy bills have soared by 500 per cent(ii), affecting households and businesses across the UK, according to findings from Energy Systems Catapult. And though costs are beginning to slow down, businesses and their teams still need to consider their bottom line.

Research from Watco has discovered that almost half of facilities managers(iii) believe their business will become unviable if they do not embrace digital technologies. With this in mind, there’s no better time for buildings to adopt tools to help identify how and where energy is used throughout a building so that fixes and changes can be made to cut back. In order to become net zero, new solutions and technologies like these are imperative.

Technology, and in particular PropTech, can help building owners understand just how much energy their properties are using, allowing them to reduce these figures and get closer to their net zero goals. In fact, the same report by McKinsey has predicted technology that already exists could help buildings lower as much as 50 per cent of their carbon emissions by 2030.

Optimised Building Management Systems (BMS) can assist building teams in lowering their emissions by providing more centralised control and monitoring over various processes. This helps building teams to actively manage heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting and other systems based on occupancy, time schedules and environmental conditions.


When we talk about the carbon impact of building performance, it is often broken down into two stages of a building’s lifecycle.

Operational carbon emissions refer to the use or operation of the building and so this is what most building owners or managers tend to focus on. These emissions are usually caused by systems like heating, cooling, lighting and other energy consumption. Embodied carbon emissions, on the other hand, encompass the entire lifecycle of a building, including extraction, manufacturing, transportation, construction and even demolition.

Understanding both types is essential for addressing carbon emissions and their impact on the environment. While reducing operational carbon emissions is important for immediate emission reductions, considering embodied carbon emissions allows property developers and construction teams to assess the long-term environmental impact of their buildings and make informed decisions about the design and material choices. These solutions are needed across the supply chain and throughout a building’s lifecycle to ensure all areas of the business are focused on reducing emissions.


Due to a performance gap that occurs between the design and operational periods, people are often simply unaware of how their building is really performing, rather than willingly ignoring its carbon output. The performance gap is the disparity between the predicted energy efficiency of a building during its design phase and how efficient it actually is when it is operational. This is a worldwide issue that needs to be solved and it’s where PropTech solutions really come into play.

By helping businesses to understand which areas of their buildings are underperforming via their BMS, they can cut energy usage and, in turn, their energy bills. Many buildings have found that as much as 60 per cent(iv) of their energy usage is spent on heating water and heating and cooling spaces. This figure could be drastically reduced if property managers were able to clearly identify these sources and either monitor the times when this energy is being wasted or even install more environmentally friendly heating and cooling solutions like heat pumps.


In the UK, a number of PropTech solutions have been developed and employed to reduce building energy usage by tapping into their BMS. These include Energy Management Systems (EMS) that monitor and control energy consumption, Smart Metering for real-time data on energy usage and Building Energy Modelling to optimise designs and understand energy-saving measures and energy-efficient features and fittings including renewable energy sources.

These technologies collectively enhance energy efficiency, reduce costs and mitigate the environmental impact of buildings throughout their lifetime. And by implementing a combination of these PropTech solutions, building managers and tenants alike can help to drive energy efficiency improvements in UK buildings before the country’s net zero targets in 2050.

(i) https://bit.ly/3YsqZqI
(ii) https://eibi.co.uk/news/7046-2/
(iii) https://bit.ly/3OtqMPI
(iv) https://www.iea.org/energy-system/buildings

About Sarah OBeirne

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