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A future-ready digital building

Future-Ready Digital Buildings Offer Opportunity for Value Creation

Future-ready digital buildings will stack advanced technologies to enable coordinated operations for energy flexibility, reliability, and decarbonization value beyond the building envelope.

According to a new white paper from the global energy practice of Navigantenergy, technology, and service providers must innovate in the buildings sector or risk major disruption to their businesses. In an era of energy and digital transformation, the economics of building ownership are changing. Worldwide, an estimated 24 billion sq ft of new commercial buildings is constructed annually — the equivalent of about 9000 new Empire State Buildings.

The new Navigant white paper, Building-to-Grid: Industry Transformation for Flexible, Integrated, Value-Generating Resources, concludes that while building owners have been deploying intelligent buildings solutions that rely on data for automation and control for decades, future-ready digital buildings will stack advanced technologies to enable coordinated operations for energy flexibility, reliability, and decarbonization value beyond the building envelope. The transformation will be enabled through the evolving Building-to-Grid (B2G) platform, a customer-centric energy ecosystem described in Navigant’s Energy Cloud 4.0 vision of a more sustainable, highly digitized, and dynamic energy system.

“B2G fundamentally redefines the relationship between building owners and suppliers of energy,” said Jan Vrins, leader of Navigant’s global energy practice. “This platform will enable massive opportunities beyond the ability to uncover new business insights and improve the occupant experience. It will empower building owners to coordinate building operations with other on-site distributed energy resources (DERs) like solar, storage, or electric vehicle (EV)-charging infrastructure.”

As an increasingly dynamic, flexible, and intelligent building stock moves toward seamless integration with an evolving grid infrastructure — one that prioritizes clean, distributed, mobile, and intelligent market systems — significant value creation opportunities are expected to emerge across the stakeholder ecosystem, according to the white paper.

“B2G offers new revenue opportunities for innovative technology and service providers, enhanced customer-centric experience for building owners, and decarbonization and flexibility benefits for tackling the climate crisis,” said Casey Talon, associate director with Navigant. “The opportunity cost of inaction is huge — industry incumbents across the energy and building technology sectors who fail to innovate will lose out to new competition from adjacent markets, creative strategic partnerships, and flexible peers.”

To avoid major disruption, the paper advises that stakeholders should prioritize:

  • Thinking beyond the building envelope and investing in a B2G market entry strategy today — build, buy, or partner to bolster and expand legacy capabilities.
  • Engaging early adopters to demonstrate B2G potential with real-life case studies that demonstrate the technical benefits and specific return on investment (ROI) tied to financial business models.
  • Focusing market education and outreach on the business benefits of B2G enabling technologies to create the business case customers need to begin the journey.

To learn more, download the latest Navigant white paper here.

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