Digital Transformation of Buildings Towards Mainstream Sustainability Journey

Commercial, residential, and industrial buildings are categorized amongst the most energy-intensive consumers, accounting for 40% of global energy usage, while building operations contribute to 33% of global carbon emissions. Digitalization holds a tremendous potential to mainstream sustainability in building operations and accelerate the clean energy transition by reducing energy consumption and the resulting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As per the study by the International Energy Agency (IEA), digitalization in the residential and commercial building sector can reduce total energy use to around 10% by 2040. The digitalization of buildings requires synergized interplay between hardware, software, and communication technologies to ensure advanced monitoring, controlling, optimizing and maintaining of building operations. Consequently, digitalization results in sustainable, maximized building energy efficiency, optimized human comfort, and increased building value. Digitalization in building operations will also result in smart energy management of building systems. Energy efficiency gains through digitalization are reported to be up to 30% of total building energy usage.

This white paper aims to systematically review the technologies, solutions, and business models capable of bringing digital transformation to the operation of commercial buildings. Solutions and technologies in the market include smart and connected devices (smart thermostats, occupancy sensors, photo sensors, smart lighting), smart digital products and building automation systems. The authors aim to list the opportunities, barriers and essential requirements to facilitate the shift from conventional building operations toward sustainable and energy optimized building operations.

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