Sustainable buildings reduce energy and water use and are a crucial component of urban planning that aims to mitigate climate change.
With the growing popularity of more sustainable energy sources, the real estate industry is also shifting to more green solutions. Buildings and constructions are becoming “greener” and more energy-efficient. Architecture and engineering firms are quickly adopting more environmentally friendly solutions for building design as a standard practice.
Schneider Electric is one of such companies that supply engineers with solutions for creating future-proof electrical systems that provide maximum energy efficiency over the course of a building’s existence. Do you want to find the solutions and help build greener infrastructures? Read on.
Green buildings market
As many people ask if green buildings are really green, a simple definition of a “green building” refers to a building that minimises or eliminates harmful effects on climate and the natural environment through its design, construction or operation. Green constructions protect priceless natural resources and improve people’s living standards.
As the building sector is one of the largest energy consumers in the EU, green buildings – the alternative to buildings that run on fossil fuel energy or are poorly insulated – are becoming a norm. Consequently, the European Commission has announced a Renovation Wave to reduce energy usage and improve the performance of the building across the EU. The European Union plans to renovate 35 million buildings by 2035, which could create 160 000 new ‘green jobs’ in the construction sector.
Green Building Market size will experience significant rise over 2021-2027 catalyzed by the increasing demand for infrastructure with lower greenhouse gas emissions.Global Market Insights
How can smart buildings be the future of sustainability?
Green buildings are one of the main focuses for industries to reduce the real estate sector’s impact on the environment. Companies have to focus on alternative, recyclable and renewable materials, reducing energy consumption and waste in the construction process so that the building has a reduced impact on the environment over its lifespan.
Green buildings improve ecological, social, and economic issues in their construction by how they are constructed. ‘Smart buildings’ that integrate building technology systems support green building with leveraged data and digital technology. Schneider Electric focuses on technology by implementing IoT-based metering systems, optimisation, and automation from monitoring and maintenance through improvement.
Watch the video below and discover how Schneider Electric contributes to a more decarbonised, digitised and electrified future of buildings and find out what has to be done to cut carbon emissions.
- Buildings renovation and making them more efficient through innovations and more advanced materials.
- Improved heating and electrification systems.
- Implemented energy consumption measures.
Renovation rate & electrification
Buildings are being transformed into ecosystems, creating more energy through solar panel generation, linking to the grid for electric vehicle charging, and having superior energy storage. The electrical systems are the core of the energy efficiency of buildings. Electrification is not vital only for the improvement of buildings but also for other sectors, such as transport, production, energy storage, and to support other renewables, like alternatives for heating, photovoltaic (PV) systems, microgrids, hydropower plants, and water energy.
Also, designs are crucial in greener infrastructure, considering the large number of existing building stock worldwide that could be renovated. Properly designed structures for changing existing buildings into green ones allow for retrofitting, improving the performance of the building. Then, making newly constructed and renovated buildings more comfortable and cost-effective to maintain is key, as well as teaching building users to be efficient.
Transforming existing buildings into more sustainable ones requires:
- Innovative approach towards energy – minimises energy usage and, after maximising inherent and natural efficiencies in the architecture of the building, integrates renewable and low-carbon technology to meet the energy needs of the building.
- preserving the environment – advantage of preserving nature, diverse wildlife and land quality; constructing on contaminated land after remediation or establishing new green areas.
- minimise waste – some activities focus on using organic and inorganic solid waste for more beneficial applications like composting and electricity generation, as well as recycling and reusing wastewater with the proper treatment.
- promoting wellbeing and health – bringing fresh air and delivering good indoor air quality; avoiding harmful substances and chemicals; ensuring the comfort of living through environments and right temperature (monitoring systems, passive design, building management); incorporating natural light; reducing light energy needs.
- connecting people and infrastructures – establishing a variety of surroundings that strengthen and connect communities; providing good transport and facilities; developing “smart” and information communications technology to interact with the environment more effectively (e.g. smart electrical grids); bringing agriculture into cities.
- building robust buildings – adapting to changing climate; assuring adaptability to disasters like fires, earthquakes, and flooding so that these structures endure and keep people and their possessions secure.
- considering all stages of a building’s life-cycle – lower environmental impact from conception, construction, operation, upkeep to eventual demolition.
Digitalisation of buildings
Technology, similarly to electrification, plays one of the most important roles in the green transition, not only for the real estate industry but also for transport (electric vehicles), manufacturing and production (sustainable automation), agriculture and other sectors.
Green technological solutions highlighted by Deloitte:
- 3D printing (Construction 4.0) and environmentally friendly architecture.
- Growing utilisation of automation and robotics.
- Construction that is industrialised, modular and prefabricated.
- Digital Twin in advanced building methods.
- Building Information Modelling (BIM).
- The use of advanced analytics, data, and AI on-site project management.
The digitalisation of buildings improves energy efficiency and reduces costs of buildings and construction, especially if integrated with IoT technologies. Schneider Electric is one brand that offers the right electrical equipment allowing for accurate measurements, accuracy and security, such as energy meters and software applications that show relevant energy parameters and indicate key performance.
Greener solutions from electrical designers
Electrical design engineers have many standards and technologies to specify future-proof electrical systems for buildings. Schneider Electric acknowledges that it is the responsibility of electrical designers to implement energy-efficient and financially-optimised electrical systems. The brand considers how governments, industry-based organisations, and local electric utility companies choose to regulate green building practices in important global markets.
Schneider Electric offers many software applications that help engineers with the electrical distribution system. For example, EcoStruxure Power Design – Ecodial software enables engineers to more easily integrate energy-efficient design into their workflow compliant with the IEC 60364 standard. Read more about energy-efficient building standards here.
Energy metering & power monitoring
Efficient energy monitoring can provide essential information on how the building is operating. It indicates environmental parameters (carbon dioxide, ventilation rates, air temperature, illuminance levels, Volatile Organic Compounds) and utility sub-metering parameters (gas, water, cooling, heat for heating energy and hot water, power and lighting).
Schneider Electric offers products that are trustworthy and safe. This brand rigorously tests each product with outside laboratories following the strictest standards, such as IEC, MID, UL, etc. Its basic energy meters comply with single-phase or three-phase circuits, simple kWh meters, fully-featured dual tariff energy meters, and power metering for network monitoring applications. Data can be viewed locally or remotely. With the Acti9 series, the connection to power management software allows for taking the true ability of IoT digital power installation.
The Acti9 iEM2000 series of energy meters offer Active Energy Class 1 accuracy data measurement, LCDs, two tariffs, and MID-approved technology. They are perfect for sub-billing and cost allocation applications, cutting operating costs and increasing power efficiency. The Acti9 energy metres become a true IoT digital power installation solution with the help of the power management software.
Another series from Schneider Electric is PowerLogic, whose PM5000 is a safe and dependable IOT energy and power meter. It provides various solutions to meet any need for energy and network management applications with the highest requirements, such as IEC, MID, UL, etc., and advanced cost management tools.
With PM5000, you can utilise different tariffs, twin Ethernet ports, and other features to increase operational effectiveness, maximise energy cost savings, and boost company performance.
The best-in-class Modicon M221 logic controller has a brick-style or book-style option that needs minimal setup and offers flexibility. This straightforward remote operator panel allows you to visualise and maintain your machine quickly. You may get it at Distrelec as a beginning kit that includes the HMI device THM2GDB and Schneider SoMachine software V1.1.
The last highlighted product from Schneider Electric is Zelio Logic, a user-friendly alternative to solutions that rely on cabled logic or dedicated cards if you’re seeking PLCs ideal for basic automation systems. Compact variants with set configurations and modular models with extension modules are the two product lines offered by Zelio logic smart relays. The smart relays may communicate through 2G or 3G modems and offer a PID function for HVAC applications.