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.