Darryl Gregory, UK&I sales leader, at Trend Controls, says we must embrace digitalisation to help improve energy efficiency.

The UK Government has taken steps towards bolstering the country’s environmental credentials, aiming to deliver on its ambitious, legally enshrined target of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 78 percent by 2035 compared with 1990 levels.[i]

With many similar initiatives well underway, the built environment is perhaps experiencing increasing pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. Given buildings are currently responsible for around 39 percent of global carbon emissions[ii], and account for a quarter of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions[iii], many facilities managers have a hard task ahead if Government emission reduction targets are to be achieved.[iv]

Through the implementation of next generation digital technologies, it can become more possible to develop new procedures and enhance current offerings, which can help achieve a more energy efficient enterprise. As such, the movement towards digitalisation seems almost inevitable to achieve efficiency targets and reduce emissions by giving businesses the tools to identify ongoing opportunities for improvements. It is imperative for businesses to review their entire estate for improvements in energy efficiency and savings to be achieved, and digitalisation can be an invaluable asset in this ongoing review process.

Steps towards digitisation

Whilst digitising any organisation can seem like an overwhelming task, it is important to remember that investing in infrastructure does not have to cost large sums of money. For example, rather than replacing all existing systems within an organisation, it is important that facilities managers take stock and analyse whether a system needs to be replaced wholesale or if it can instead be modernised.

It is not essential for all systems to be digitised with next generation technology from the outset. By starting with one section of your enterprise at a time, such as a building’s HVAC system, facilities managers can potentially be in a better position to utilise data, implement effective change, and help improve energy efficiency.

Assessing what systems need to be digitised and enhanced is vital to achieving successful digitalisation. This first step should not be rushed, and only once this is done should facilities managers even consider digitising data.

Trustworthy data

Once key systems within an enterprise have been digitised, it is then integral for facilities managers to assess their data to help identify areas for energy efficiency improvements. For example, coupled with advanced AI/ML software, a building management system enables building owners and facility managers to draw insights on building performance and model projected performance against sustainability KPIs such as carbon emissions.

This kind of software can aid facilities managers in helping improve energy efficiency. By interpreting all available data from next generation technologies efficiently, facilities managers can then start to assess what steps to take to work towards achieving carbon reductions.

Digitalisation may be a broad term, but it’s not a silver bullet for sustainability. For digitisation to help organisations improve energy efficiency, it is important for facilities managers to be strategic with their digitalisation initiatives and data management. The crucial first step is knowing where to begin.

[i] Gov.UK, UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035, Published: 2021 [Accessed: 14th July 2023]

[ii] World Green Building Council, Bringing embodied carbon upfront, Published: 2019 [Accessed: 20th March 2023]

[iii] UK Parliament, Emissions must be reduced in the construction of buildings if the UK is to meet net zero, MPs warn, Published: 26th May 2022 [Accessed: 20th March 2023]

[iv] Gov.UK, UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035, Published: 2021 [Accessed: 14th July 2023]