Matthew Ganser, EVP Engineeringand Technology, Carbon Lighthouse, says there is a misconceptionabout new buildings.

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"Just because you have modernbuilding materials and maybe a more modern building managementsystem or control system, it doesn't necessarily mean you have amore efficiently run asset," Ganser says.  "There are alot of reasons for that.

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One of the primary reasons isthat buildings don't always perform as designed. "The way they'recommissioned is a little bit different than the way they'reactually run as a building with the actual loads the buildingexperiences and when the building experiences those loads," Gansersays. 

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Even if two buildings havesimilar control systems, performance can be dramaticallydifferent.

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"Often, to make a building reallyhum and be a lot more efficient, you have to finetune and adapt thecontrols of that specific building," Ganser says. "It's not just acopy and paste from the previous building."

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Even with matching systemsoperated in similar ways, every building is different. "We haven'tcome across the same building twice," Ganser says. "Even when itcomes to new buildings, what worked in the past isn't perfectly howa new building should be operating now."

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In this random world, similarbuildings produce far different energy usage outcomes. "It's a verydiscombobulated random world to work in," Ganser says. "Technologyallows us to do a lot of things that are difficult much morequickly in an automated fashion." 

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Ganser says technology canidentify inaccurate readings in the building management systems. Itcan also identify problems or savings opportunities in thebuilding, regardless of the structure's age. "We've worked in a lotof old buildings that have had plenty of major opportunities forimprovement," Ganser says. "We also have that same situation withbrand new buildings as well." 

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If technology can produceaccurate energy usage information, Ganser thinks it can do muchmore than improve the performance of individual assets. It has thepotential to push the industry beyond accusations ofgreenwashing.

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"If we can move the conversationpast greenwashing and move it towards the common currency [expensesavings] that all businesses run off of, that's where you can havea conversation that anyone would be excited to be part of," Gansersays.

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COVID-19 also plays a role inthese discussions. 

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"With energy efficiency andCOVID-19, there is a lot of overlap with what's being discussedabout how buildings might change," Ganser sa.ys

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Energy could provide a wayforward as budget crunches get worse. Reducing energy spending canbe useful for the bottom line. "They are two sides of the samecoin," Ganser says.

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Leslie Shaver

Les Shaver has been covering commercial and residential real estate for almost 20 years. His work has appeared in Multifamily Executive, Builder, units, Arlington Magazine in addition to GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum.