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The Path to Drawdown: Building Automation

Buildings and construction account for 38% of global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy use. Much of the energy used in buildings is the result of heating and air-conditioning, lighting, information and communications systems, security and access systems, fire alarms, elevators, appliances, and indirectly through plumbing.

Most large commercial buildings in industrialized countries have some type of centralized, computer-based building management system that monitors, evaluates, and controls these systems. That system is called a building automation system. Building automation systems utilize sensors to constantly scan and rebalance energy use to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. New buildings can be equipped with a building automation system from the start, and old ones can be retrofitted to incorporate it and reap its benefits.

Adopting automated, rather than manual, building management systems can result in over 20% more efficient heating and cooling, and 8% more efficient energy use for light, appliances, etc.

Today, the adoption of building automation systems varies widely by country. Project Drawdown estimates that, for building automation systems to make a significant dent in global emissions, their adoption needs to grow particularly rapidly in developing countries:

  • <::marker> In 2018, over 75% of buildings in some high-income countries were managed by automated systems while some developing regions had not integrated them at all. 
  • <::marker> By 2050, if building automation systems are adopted by 100% of commercial buildings in OECD countries, 80% in China, and 50% in all other regions, they can help avoid up to 10.48 gigatons of CO2 emissions.

What We Want to See Improve

Disclose GHG Emissions

As of now, Vivint doesn’t have any information related to sustainability on their website. As a company advancing a Drawdown solution, we want to see Vivint become a climate-conscious firm. At the most basic level, this means disclosing their direct and indirect GHG emissions, energy-use by source, and the amount of emissions they helped avoid through their products. These metrics should be reported in an annual sustainability report.

Set Clear Targets

Once Vivint begins disclosing their emissions, the next step we’d like to see is for them to set clear, quantitative targets for emissions reductions within a specified timeframe. These targets should be in line with the international effort to stay under 1.5°C of global warming, and be accompanied by strategies of how to achieve them.

Switch to a Clean Bank

Vivint has obtained several loans from Bank of America (p. 71) over the years. Unfortunately, Bank of America is one of 12 banks in the US that fund fossil fuels the most. We urge Vivint’s executives to move away from dirty banks and work with financial institutions that, on principle, do not invest in high-emitting industries.

Related Building Automation Stocks in the Climate Index

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Allocated Company Description


Johnson Controls (JCI)

JCI offers HVAC and automation systems, allowing building managers to improve energy efficiency. These solutions help reduce emissions from buildings


Comfort Systems USA, Inc. (FIX)

Comfort Systems USA provides automation systems that building managers monitor building energy use. That's the solution for emissions from buildings.


Vivint Smart Home, Inc. (VVNT)

Vivint offers a system that lets home owners control heating, cooling, energy and security. They enhance building automation, which cuts building emissions


Limbach Holdings (LMB)

Limbach provides data-driven building automation, system integration, and energy management solutions. These solutions help reduce emissions from buildings

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