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COP26 – How smart technology creates sustainable buildings

COP26 is dominating the news cycle, and for good reason. The impacts of the climate emergency are becoming more apparent every year, and it looks certain that this meeting will be the world’s last opportunity to take the urgent action that is needed, making it the most important meeting in history.

According to the UK government’s introduction to the event: “COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Parties are the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994 which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU). The 2021 conference, hosted by the UK, together with our partners Italy, in Glasgow, will be the 26th meeting of the Parties, which is why it’s called COP26.

“United Nations climate change conferences are among the largest international meetings in the world. The negotiations between governments are complex and involve officials from every country in the world as well as representatives from civil society and the global news media.”

One of the key targets for attendees is to secure action in the built environment. Data from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) shows that almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions and almost 50% of all extracted materials are generated by buildings.

What’s more, it is anticipated that the world’s building stock will double and 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by the middle of the century. This is expected to increase global material use by 100%, and a third of this rise will be solely down to the construction sector. This means that the construction and development sector is an area where big cuts can be made in short order – and it is vital that we do so given the scale of development in our future.

The built environment’s demand for natural resources, and its carbon-intensive processes, have major effects on the climate, human health and the natural world. Therefore, our sector must do its part in the fight against climate change and cut emissions in half by 2030, with the aim of becoming carbon neutral or negative in the medium- to long-term.

Roland Hunziker, director of sustainable buildings and cities at the WBSCD, described construction sector and building emissions as “the sleeping giant”.

“Quite honestly, nobody really pays a lot of attention to the full impact of emissions from buildings […] and so that needs to change,” said Hunziker.

“How can we give more visibility to the sleeping giant, the built environment, which is a massive source of carbon emissions? It’s the energy we use to heat and cool our buildings but it’s also obviously in the materials.”

For the first time, COP26 will include a day on Cities, Regions and the Built Environment, scheduled for Thursday 11thNovember. The day will be dedicated to “advancing action in the places we live, from communities, through to cities and regions,” to consider how the construction sector and buildings around the world can do more to mitigate their impact on the climate.

A major way in which huge carbon savings can be made immediately is by using smart technologies to reduce the impact of existing buildings. While new buildings are increasingly being fitted with the latest technology as a matter of course, existing buildings will need to be retrofitted to ensure they are fit for purpose going forward.

A simple way to improve buildings is to implement an up-to-date metering and monitoring system which uses technology to gathers real-time data on energy usage. Many building owners have no idea how much energy their buildings use, and without knowing that it is impossible to understand where usage can be reduced.

Conversely, by installing an advanced metering and monitoring system linked to the IBG dashboard, you can instantly reduce your energy usage and take a big step on the road to achieving Net Zero Carbon. By achieving full understanding and control of your building through technology, you can automate systems, reduce your energy usage and make it truly “smart”.

The advantages of automated building metering and building monitoring include:

  • Automating procedures eliminates waste and inefficiencies
  • System is cost neutral and will save you money immediately
  • Key tool to help you achieve Net Zero Carbon and meet ESG goals

For more information about how you can retrofit your building with the latest technology, save money and meet your carbon efficiency responsibilities, get in touch with the IBG team today by clicking here >>