A Smart Building depends on how "smart" the owner is!

Jerry Yudelson | Bild: Jerry Yudelson
Jerry Yudelson | Bild: Jerry Yudelson

Oktober 2016 - Jerry Yudelson, den das Tech-Magazin WIRED 2011 zum "Godfather Of Green" ernannte, gilt weltweit als einer der renommieresten Experten für nachhaltige Gebäude. Im Frühjahr 2016 sorgte er mit seinem Buch "Reinventing Green Building: Why Certification Systems Aren't Working And What We Can Do About it" in den USA innerhalb der Green Building-Community für Aufsehen. Darin fordert er die Abkehr vom teuren, komplizierten und ineffizienten Zertifizierungssystem LEED und plädiert stattdessen dafür, digitale Technologien und Software für eine bessere Performance von Gebäuden einzusetzen. Schließlich sei das "Smart Building" das Modell der Zukunft. Wie kaum ein anderer, kennt der am Caltech und an der Harvard University ausgebildete Bauingenieur die weltweite Gebäudezertifizierungsindustrie von innen. Acht Jahre war er selbst Mitglied im US Green Building Council und hat während dieser Zeit als LEED Fellow rund 3.500 Fach- und Führungskräfte der Bauwirtschaft auf das Zertifizierungssystem trainiert. greenIMMO wollte von ihm wissen, welche Vorteile das - zumindest hierzulande - bislang im Forschungsstadium befindliche "Smart Building" bietet.    

greenIMMO:  A "smart building" seems to be the next big thing in real estate. So what is a smart building, Jerry?


Jerry Yudelson: It depends on how “smart” the owner is! Basically any piece of data can be put on a Big Data platform and analyzed, visualized and messaged to and by anyone the owner designates. For portfolio owners particularly, this feature will allow oversight of a large number of buildings at one time, to identify best/worst performers. Indeed, the best use of smart buildings might be remote building management by skilled technicians in a control center, who can find operational problems in individual buildings as they occur (often before they’re reported) and dispatch the right skills, parts and tools to fix the problem before it becomes a business issue.

greenIMMO: Compared to green building labels what can "smart buildings" do better to come further with sustainable buildings?


Jerry Yudelson: At the level of individual buildings, smart building features allow you to troubleshoot individual pieces of important equipment such as chillers, via remote diagnostic and quickly identify if they are operating outside acceptable parameters. In addition, in many cities in the US, it is possible to get previous-day electrical use, typically at 15-minute intervals, so that excessive energy use can be quickly identified and corrected. This is far superior than waiting for a monthly electrical bill, seeing excessive use and then trying to identify what’s happening. It can also save the expense of sub-metering lots of equipment and electrical services (e.g., lighting, A/C, plug loads) to identify excessive use. In addition, the Big Data platforms allow for comprehensive sustainability reporting without the need to engage lots of staff. As Deb Noller, CEO of Switch Automation, says, anything that comes into a business as an invoice can be put onto a Big Data platform and analyzed, visualized, compared to norms/goals, acted upon, used for future planning, reported to the designated authorities, etc.


greenIMMO: What about the data of smart buildings? How can they be used to manage buildings more efficiently?


Jerry Yudelson: What you DON’T know, CAN hurt you! Or, as American humorist Mark Twain has said, the bigger problem is “what you know for sure that just isn’t so.” Eliminate guessing and spot operating problems quickly, so that corrective action can be taken in a timely manner. With every data set you get a “time/date stamp” that allows you to see exactly when things go out of control. You can set control limits so that key people immediately receive an SMS message whenever something goes out of norm. You can compare endlessly, this year vs. last year, this year actual vs. goal, this building vs. your other buildings, this building vs. all other similar buildings, all adjusted for weather, occupancy, etc.


greenIMMO: Do you see some kind of new business cases for real estate companies in the future were data can be helpful for? Do Companies in the US already use data for a better building or asset management? 


Jerry Yudelson: For asset management, timely and actionable information is a requirement. In addition, most real estate companies operate with both debt and equity investors. Through such reporting organizations as GRESB and GRI, those investors are using screens for sustainability to evaluate where they will put their money. The business case is clear for this reason alone: access to capital at favorable rates when you want/need it. In addition, there is a strong business need to attract and retain younger employees/associates who care about sustainability and who use these reporting organizations to screen potential employers. After all, it is the younger employees who really drive business growth and top-line revenue!


greenIMMO: Thank you, Jerry! In 2017 we will go deeper inside these topics.