Building Energy Efficiency That Pays for Itself

November 20, 2015

Michael Amato, CEM, is the Director of Sales Engineering at Enlighted Inc.

Traditionally, prioritizing investments in energy efficiency was a challenge for commercial building owners and managers, requiring large up-front capital investments and payback periods that were slow compared to other uses of organizational capital. Because of this, building energy efficiency strategies faced financial and political barriers to implementation within organizations.

Fortunately, the Internet of Things is making this an issue of the past. Powerful sensor technologies, coupled with innovative financing mechanisms like the Enlighted GEO offering, are making drastic reductions in building energy use possible – at literally no cost.

A recent article in Energy Manager Today highlighted this issue, and how the full scope of benefits from IoT-powered energy efficiency offerings has not yet become common knowledge amongst energy managers.

Carl Weinschenk, writing in Energy Manager Today, notes that 82% of of energy managers extoll the virtues of building energy efficiency, yet only 53% of believed that their buildings were technologically advanced enough to the reap the benefits of energy efficiency. Weinschenk also affirms the common misperception that building energy efficiency is costly, time-consuming and a distraction from more important organizational objectives:

“The unmistakable conclusion is that while the benefits of energy efficiency are wildly accepted, retrofitting them into existing buildings is a capital intensive and difficult process that is not an easy sell. At the same time, there are other laudable goals that could take some of the focus away from energy efficiency.”

Yet with the advent of the Internet of Things, the business case for energy efficiency has never been stronger. A 50-70% increase in building energy efficiency is possible immediately following installation of a commercial building IoT system.

At Enlighted this entails a fast 1-2 week process with no up-front capital costs. The reason the Enlighted system installs quickly — in buildings of any age or vintage — is that the Enlighted advanced sensor network installs at light fixtures in a building and doesn’t require expensive infrastructure projects, retrofits, or the involvement of engineers or electrical contractors.

These sensors are connected to a central data repository and also to the world around them. By gathering heat, light, and occupancy data, the Enlighted System can determine how spaces are used at every minute of the day, and optimize the lights, HVAC system, and the electrical plugs to use only the energy required.

Installing Enlighted also provides a foundation for other, more valuable IoT services, like asset tracking, building security, and occupant comfort and wellness improvements. These additional services, many of which are just being created and imagined, increase occupant and worker productivity, wellbeing and efficiency and their benefits tend to exceed the initial energy efficiency savings that building owners and managers realize.

At Enlighted, we’ve installed close to 100 million square feet of commercial real estate around the world in the past few years alone — to some of the biggest and most value-conscious companies in the world. As just one example, AT&T has installed Enlighted in hundreds of facilities in the US and are saving millions per year on their energy bills. As a result, they have awarded Enlighted with their Outstanding Supplier Award two years in a row.

Most recently, Enlighted partnered with global commercial real estate leader Jones Lang Lasalle to implement Enlighted within their portfolio of managed commercial real estate. Under this partnership, JLL will serve as the change management, implementation, project management and service point of contact for Fortune 500 customers, and Enlighted will provide technology solutions and the company’s unique Global Energy Optimization (GEO) service model, allowing companies to reap immediate energy and cost savings by requiring no-money-down financing and no leasing of the company’s IoT solutions.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has made the business case for building energy efficiency undeniable. For organization that are still wondering how to make the case internally for investments in energy efficiency, the answer is resounding and clear — whatever age, size, or vintage of buildings are in your portfolio, a commercial building IoT solution like Enlighted is the fastest, most cost-effective route to next generation energy efficiency.