Building automation ranks #45 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate up to 4.62 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 at a cost of US$68.1 billion, eventually saving building owners around $880.6 billion.
Buildings are large, complicated systems that use and consume energy every minute of every day. They also account for one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, Drawdown notes. Making the switch to an automated system can reduce energy consumption by 10 to 20%, while minimizing the inevitable human error that comes with manual building management.
Building automation systems (BAS) continuously monitor key components to achieve the greatest energy efficiency—for example, by turning off lights when no one is present. New and older buildings can both incorporate BAS, cutting energy demand and carbon emissions while improving indoor air quality and occupant comfort and productivity. BAS can also quickly catch and fix maintenance issues and verify that efficiency is being maximized.
However, barriers remain to wider building automation. For BAS to be worth the cost for building owners, they must deliver a quick, up-front return on investment. And the more disconnected a property management company is from its tenants, the less likely it will be to invest in BAS.
But Drawdown still sees the potential for building automation to continue growing and emerge as a key opportunity to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while maximizing operating efficiency.