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Thought Leadership from Sieben Energy Associates

Major Takeaways from the 2017 Intelligent Buildings Conference


The Intelligent Buildings conference (IBcon), presented by RealComm, is one of the most important gatherings for the commercial and corporate real estate, facilities, and technology industries. I attended the 2017 IBcon in San Diego, California on June 13–16. This event brought together leaders from more than 20 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and many countries in Europe and Asia.

I attended all four days of the conference. Seven pre-conference events were held on Tuesday, June 13. These were followed by two full days of education sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, June 14–15. The conference concluded with nine Real Estate Innovation Tech Tours on Friday, June 16.
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Why Pursue Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings?

It is hard to conceptualize the impact that our own energy use has on the world, particularly as it relates to carbon emissions and climate change. Although we understand the importance of reducing energy consumption, it often feels like the energy we use on a regular basis is just a drop in the bucket. But the key is to remember that those many small drops add up quickly. Reducing energy use in our buildings, even by a modest amount, can, in aggregate, have a significant impact.

According to the International Energy Outlook 2016, published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), energy consumed in the buildings sector constitutes about 20% of total global site energy consumed. The "buildings sector" includes residential and commercial users, and encompasses all energy consumed at the building for uses such as heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, refrigeration, computers, and other various equipment and consumer products. Of this 20%, residential users are responsible for about two-thirds, while commercial users are responsible for the remaining one-third. In other words, commercial buildings around the world account for 7% of global site energy consumption.
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Cities with the Most ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings in 2017

Earlier in June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual ranking of ENERGY STAR Top Cities. According to the EPA, the list "shows which metro areas were home to the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the previous year."

The Top Cities for 2017, based on the numbers of 2016 certified buildings, were:
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Five Keys to a Robust Energy Strategy

Too many organizations of all sizes view energy as a cost to be managed rather than an opportunity to be leveraged. The most successful organizations often have an advanced strategic approach to energy. In the January–February 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, three authors reveal the five key steps for building a robust energy strategy in their paper "Energy Strategy for the C-Suite."

How do organizations create a competitive advantage? They can either keep costs low (ensuring greater profitability relative to their peers) or differentiate their business (introducing new products, services, or value-added features).
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ComEd’s Efficiency Incentive Program Offers New Benefits to Electric Customers

ComEd’s Efficiency Incentive Program Offers New Benefits to Electric Customers

June saw the launch of the ninth year of ComEd's Smart Ideas for Your Business program of energy efficiency incentives for commercial and industrial customers. (ComEd is the electric utility that serves northern Illinois, including Chicago and its suburbs.) The utility's retro-commissioning program generated significant energy savings in the immediately preceding program year ending May 31, 2016. A total of 130 business customers of ComEd received more than $2.8 million in retro-commissioning service incentives over 12 months, yielding 260,000 megawatt-hours of energy reduction.

And the new program year underway in June is already bringing the benefits of the retro-commissioning incentive program to a host of new customers. For the current year, ComEd's goals include targeting energy savings of more than 280,000 megawatt-hours and distributing more than $3.44 million in service incentives. Service incentives are now available for ComEd customers whose buildings have as little as 100kW peak demand, with incentives of $10,000 to $100,000 available here.

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