Sustainable development, energy savings in buildings, the Elan law, the tertiary sector decree, rising energy prices… We hear about it every day, especially since the building sector represents one of the largest areas of energy consumption in France. Many solutions and technologies are emerging to help companies navigate through the various constraints and opportunities. But what about the role of the human being in these issues?
Daily uses: a considerable impact
While new technologies related to IoT and Big Data are multiplying in energy performance and more generally, in building activity, the human factor remains the most important to generate energy savings or environmental actions.
And, before connecting your building and using a remote-control service for your equipment – the most effective today to maximize its operation – there are many quick, simple and effective actions to be taken by the users.
It all starts with the occupants’ approach to electricity consumption. Where at home, the bill and the lights left off have a direct impact on the wallet, it is true that in the office or in public buildings, the feeling is quite different.
The first action is therefore to make people aware of eco-responsible gestures and explain that the issue is not in “who pays the bill” but “what consequences” our consumption habits can have on the environment and on the use of energy resources. Whether at home or outside, everyone’s habits should contribute to energy savings.
Light is of course not the only lever for a good energy transition: heating remains today one of the biggest expenses of households and companies. And as for light, where we are careful not to increase the bill at home by keeping the heating at 20°, it is easier to raise the temperature to 25° in winter. Nevertheless, the ideal thermal comfort is close to 20° and this temperature is sufficient to preserve an optimal thermal comfort for the occupants.
The responsible user has a huge impact on energy optimization, especially since there are ways to find the right balance between consumption and comfort.
New technologies: self-sufficient?
It is often mistakenly thought that technology can automate everything. But a technology, as perfect as it may be, without human control, will necessarily present drifts or a lack of optimization.
Indeed, more and more “connected” buildings see their performance decrease with time and encounter multiple malfunctions. The first year, the installed systems work without monitoring but as the building evolves, the multitude of systems that were initially programmed end up, by lack of attention, not meeting expectations.
Human intervention remains essential for the proper operation of the sites and is complementary to the automation; for example, for a building whose use was initially planned for 13 hours, it would be reduced to 10 hours. A maintainer or a technician or an energy specialist must readjust the parameters in order to optimize the operation and continue to generate energy savings.
In the end, technologies are an excellent tool to manage the activity in buildings, but they remain a controlled aid in time, to the human being; whether it is to control the consumptions, to maximize the exploitation or simply in a sustainable development approach.
Energy monitoring: the human asset
In the building sector and in the maintenance and management of sites, consumption analysis and energy monitoring are becoming increasingly important in the thinking about the activity of companies.
At the same time, in recent years, industries have gone digital. This results in a high production of energy data from meters, sensors, machines, automats, connected objects, etc. This information is a real mine of information. This information is a real gold mine, often under-exploited.
Technologies and tools are now available to monitor this data in real time and report critical information about the business, such as breakdowns or malfunctions. However, these alerts remain insufficient because they do not provide any solution or action.
And because pointing out malfunctions is not enough; human intervention remains essential to the proper operation of a building. For example, if a site’s consumption increases when it is hot, why not install photovoltaic panels?
The energy revolution at the service of business growth
For many companies, investing in sustainable development represents a financial burden. However, according to a study published by Barclays Bank, becoming an eco-responsible company would benefit its profitability and economic growth. According to this study, 73% of respondents believe they have made a profit since investing in sustainability and 40% say that this ecological transition has had a positive impact on their business.
By Alric MARC, Founder of EFICIA