Using Data to Drive Modernization for Next-Level Portfolio Resilience
Originally appeared in Urban Land Institute
Despite the digital world that most people live in today with smartphones, smart TVs, and myriad other apps and connected devices, much of the built environment remains a laggard when it comes to embracing the latest proptech innovations for portfolio resilience.
Modernization is anchored in data and advanced technology — internet of things (IoT) sensors and data analytics powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
When commercial real estate owners evaluate where to prioritize their modernization investments, they tend to focus on occupant-facing areas — lobbies, elevators, keyless entry, and so on.
Technology upgrades are better focused in the area that also has the potential to generate the biggest value and return on investment (ROI), such as streamlining building operations for financial, operational, and climate impact.
Many owners have already picked off the low-hanging fruit of installing LEDs, and upgrading equipment where budgets allow. But modernizing your building assets allows you to create portfolio resilience — identify hidden inefficiencies, reduce energy use, boost net operating income (NOI) — by leveraging tools to take a deeper, more granular dive and capture more operational data.
“Software and hardware technology have advanced significantly over the past five to ten years, making energy efficiency a more viable, cost-effective consideration for CRE [commercial real estate], Brenden Millstein, CEO and co-founder of Carbon Lighthouse, stated in an interview. “In fact, the cost of energy efficiency is $0.025/kWh versus $0.20–$0.30/kWh utility rate in areas like New York and Hawaii — it just makes business sense.”
Carbon Lighthouse, a ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance Innovation Partner, is an energy savings-as-a-service firm that helps optimize building systems to create more resilient portfolio assets, so that they waste less energy, reduce a building’s carbon footprint and deliver cost savings.
The backbone of Carbon Lighthouse’s approach is in deploying a network of sensors that feed data to the company’s patented CLUES software, an artificial intelligence (AI) proptech platform that identifies, analyzes, and recommends opportunities to save energy. Carbon Lighthouse engineers then work with on-site teams to implement the recommendations and continue to monitor performance over time to ensure ongoing savings.