According to a report from Pike Research the global market for energy efficiency services and equipment in buildings will exceed $100bn by 2017.
With buildings one of the largest energy users, the building stock is a target for governments looking to reduce power use. There are many energy efficiency improvements available for buildings, from high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to the use of energy-efficient lighting technologies. There is also an increasing use of energy performance contracting (EPC) where various energy saving projects from energy service companies (ESCOs) are financed through the guaranteed savings.
The net result, according to Pike’s “Energy Efficient Buildings: Global Outlook” report is that the global market for energy efficiency products and services in buildings will reach a massive $103.5bn by 2017, an increase of more than 50% from the 2011 market value of $67.9bn.
The study forecasts that the ESCO market will represent the largest segment, with revenues more than doubling from $30.1bn in 2011 to $66.0bn worldwide by 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 14%. Significant growth will also occur in the market for high-efficiency HVAC systems, which will expand from $3.1bn to $6.4bn during the same period.
The report does point out, though, that demand for services and technologies depends on national policy, technology costs and historical/cultural preferences. Hence the structure of the energy efficient building markets varies considerably between countries and regions.
Regular readers will be aware that more energy-efficient facilities management is one of the key ‘enabling’ areas of green ICT. It’s second only to smart grids in its ability to abate carbon emissions by 2020, according to the Smart 2020 report.
There’s a lot of energy-saving infrastructure that ICT can help with, such as control systems and sensors, but there is now also an increasing focus on intelligent analytics to identify the best place to make savings. For instance, this year we have reported on:
FirstFuel Software, a US company that provides software to analyse the energy use of commercial property. It uses electric and gas usage data from utilities with weather and climate data and GIS- mapped building characteristics to produce a view of how energy is being used inside the building and benchmarks it against similar buildings to come up with recommendations for saving energy.
Australian energy management software company BuildingIQ has a solution that predicts energy demand and adjusts HVAC systems to optimise energy use. A central thermal model learns a building's energy performance and then adapts to changes in internal or external conditions. It factors in weather forecasts, occupant comfort, peak demand factors and demand response signals to minimise energy cost and consumption.
Taking it one stage further, UK-based aerial mapping company Bluesky produces thermal maps of buildings that can be used to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. It also has a solution that uses geographic data to assess how suitable individual buildings are for solar energy generation.
These are just a very small sample of a wide range of solutions aimed at helping to reduce energy use in buildings. It’s a great example of where the increased use of ICT can make a significant difference in reducing emissions. And, don’t forget, they also save a great deal of money!