Connected buildings can help mitigate climate change


    September 26, 2023


    Accelerating the rate of building renovation is critical

    In the European Union and the United States, major policies are defining efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve energy efficiency. The European Climate Law, for example, establishes a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and includes legal requirements for EU countries to set intermediate targets for reducing emissions. In the United States, the Inflation Reduction Act commits to achieving a 40% reduction in economy wide GHG emissions by 2030.

    As the momentum for achieving net zero economies increases, building renovation has emerged as a central emphasis due to several factors:


    • According to the US Department of Energy, residential and commercial buildings use about 40% of the nation’s energy for lighting, heating, cooling, and appliances while commercial buildings consume 70% of all electricity
    • Building materials such as concrete, steel, and aluminum lock carbon emissions in place and contribute 23% of the total global CO2 emissions per year

    Building renovation offers an environmental and economic way forward


    Several methods exist for increasing energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of commercial buildings. Design optimization based on reducing carbon emissions minimizes the use of materials that embody carbon and transitions to integrating sustainable materials or decarbonized conventional materials into building designs. Using recycled materials reduces the carbon footprint of buildings. Advanced connected and interoperable technologies allow equipment and systems to communicate with one another and conserve energy while meeting the lighting, security, safety, cooling, and heating needs of residents. For example, Installing LED lighting systems and then connecting those systems to other building control systems reduces energy consumption and costs.


    Upgrading buildings for reduced environmental impacts also produces a promising economic outlook for commercial property owners. Renovations focused on green buildings that include replacing outdated lighting fixtures with connected lighting systems, installing energy-efficient HVAC systems, and using low-carbon building materials reduce energy costs. In turn, improving indoor environmental quality and sustainability promotes the health and well-being of employees and residents. Sustainable, human-centric workplaces attract tenants and respond to the expectations of staff returning to the office.

    Connected buildings using technology to reduce emissions are smart buildings

    Green building projects produce a higher ROI


    Certainly, the costs for a building renovation project are significant. However, improving the energy efficiency and occupant satisfaction of a property can yield a higher return-on-investment. Several analyses of new green building and renovation projects compared to standard construction practices show a higher ROI within a shorter time span.

    Profitability increases through improved energy efficiency and decreases operating costs. The ability to attain healthy/green building certifications demonstrates the commitment to sustainability that tenants, clients, and employees seek.”

    Sustainable finance options offset the challenges of acquiring the capital needed for green building and renovation projects. Blended financing allows owners to increase the scale of projects while controlling risk. Building owners may also implement renovation plans through innovative financing methods that include light-as-a-service (LaaS), energy-efficiency-as-a-service (EEaaS), and energy services company (ESCO) models. Each addresses market barriers, enables energy efficient technologies through monthly payments rather than large up-front capital costs, and encourages owners to invest in energy efficiency without immediately receiving the benefit.

    Mitigating climate change requires an immediate response and long-term planning


    As the consequences of climate change become more apparent each day, the level of urgency—and uncertainty—increases. Mitigating the effects of climate change requires commitment from every individual, corporation, and government. While international policies set long-range targets for achieving net zero economies, efforts to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption must continue and increase. As a result, construction companies must commit to replacing materials that contribute to emissions sustainable building materials. Encouraging this commitment begins with increased resolve at the corporate level to reduce emissions through green building renovations and new building designs.


    Interoperable, connected technologies offer a solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Within those technologies, LED lighting systems serve as the starting point through flexible design options, low operating costs, and excellent heat dissipation. The capabilities offered through LED lighting systems that connect with other building operations allow design teams to create sustainable office environments that appeal to tenants and occupants.


    To learn more about how connected technologies align with global energy policies, read our white paper Good connectivity: a key to decarbonizing the building sector, here.

    Listen to this article, and discover other topic related blog podcasts, here.

    About the author:

    Jonathan Weinert

    Jonathan Weinert

    IoT and connected lighting, Signify

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Media relations - Professional Lighting
    Claire Phillips

    Tel: +44 7956 489081


    For commercial enquiries:

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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