Technology key for sustainability goals

Bou Mitri ... buildings should be treated as dynamic entities.

Globally, governments and the private sector are adopting environmentally conscious policies and strategies to address climate change needs and meet net zero targets.

This heightened awareness is critical in commercial buildings, which combined with the construction industry, is responsible for more than one-third of global energy consumption and nearly 40 per cent of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions.1

Businesses have an increased appetite for enhancing resilience and efficiency for their operations including their buildings, while improving indoor quality with occupants’ wellbeing in mind. Consequently, business leaders and decision makers are facing two key priorities that they are looking to address in parallel.

The new approach for buildings is to treat them as dynamic entities, while deploying advanced technologies to achieve the two goals: meet their sustainability and energy efficiency goals whilst creating a healthier indoor environment for occupants.

Considering the growing and urgent need for healthier, more efficient and sustainable building operations, Honeywell Building Technologies commissioned YouGov to research more than 300 business leaders and decision makers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to understand the awareness, challenges and priorities of sustainability policies and technology adoption to help enable change.

The survey has revealed that Middle East business leaders and decision-makers consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives to be a top business priority, with a focus on energy management and occupant safety and well-being.  

The survey indicated that over the last two years, ESG has grown in importance within organisations, driven by an increased focus on the need for sustainability improvement, and an immediate requirement to support cost-efficiency improvements and occupational health and safety resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the findings of the survey:

• 89 per cent of respondents say that ESG considerations are important to their organisation’s strategy with 84 per cent saying that energy management and sustainability are important to their organisation today;

• 80 per cent of respondents say that the importance of energy management and sustainability in their organisation has increased over the last two years; 

• Occupant health and safety (50 per cent) is the most commonly invested in the area of ESG;

• 43 per cent of respondents say that Covid-19 helped accelerate their organisation’s energy management and sustainability initiatives, versus only 21 per cent who say the pandemic hindered such initiatives.

Technology is taking center stage in ESG initiatives, the survey revealed. Energy-efficient lighting, predictive maintenance software and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) optimisation are now common areas of investment among building managers, with approximately 76 per cent of respondents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and 58 per cent in Egypt confirming that their organisation has implemented air quality measures in their building since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 80 per cent of respondents believe that an autonomous control or a predictive maintenance solution would improve their organisation’s energy management operations.  In addition, 80 per cent of respondents believe that digital-based solutions available today are effective in improving energy efficiency of buildings.

Honeywell offers building technologies that help enable smarter buildings and building portfolio management, simplify facility operations, and increase operational and energy efficiency. 

Honeywell Forge enterprise performance management software-as-a-service can drive digital transformation in buildings while reducing energy consumption and delivering operational efficiencies.

For example, Honeywell Forge Energy Optimization, is a patented, cloud-based, closed-loop solution that connects to a building’s existing HVAC systems to optimise energy consumption. This closed-loop solution operates without the need for human intervention by regularly analysing near real-time conditions data – such as weather and occupancy – with predictive, machine learning models that compute and adjust set points automatically over a facility’s entire HVAC distribution system. This solution supported the UAE’s first accredited smart university to achieve double-digit energy savings.

With Energy Service Company (ESCO) accreditation in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Honeywell is licensed to provide energy services.Globally, Honeywell has completed more than 6,000 EPC projects, delivering more than $10 billion in guaranteed energy and operational savings.

“As an active ESCO in the region, we understand the challenges of driving energy efficiencies across facilities,” says George Bou Mitri, president, Honeywell Building Technologies, Middle East, Turkey and Africa. “By treating buildings as dynamic entities and deploying the right technologies, it’s possible for building owners and managers to achieve both goals of meeting their energy efficiency targets and creating a healthier indoor environment for their occupants.” 

1. https://www.iea.org/topics/buildings. A source of enormous untapped efficiency potential, January 2021 [Accessed October 21, 2021]