The recent signing into law of SB 100 on September 10 is a historic event for California and perhaps the United States overall. By signing SB 100, Governor Brown has made California the largest jurisdiction to commit to clean energy in the U.S. But what does it mean, in practical terms, if we want to achieve 60 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045?
As a California-based company, we have a stake in making SB 100 a reality. We believe, like others before us, that the cheapest, lowest-cost way to generate energy is simply not to use it in the first place. In other words, buildings can generate ‘negawatts.’ Today, commercial buildings in California account for 37 percent of primary energy usage in the state. That means a simple, relatively easy approach to reach goal of a 10 percent reduction in whole building energy use by commercial buildings would get California 3.7 percent closer to realizing SB 100 today, not tomorrow, by doing essentially nothing.
Also, consider how long it will take to develop, deploy, regulate, validate, and deliver clean energy solutions to market at scale to achieve the desired SB 100 reduction. Decades and probably more. And that’s one of the huge advantages of applying smarter, cloud-based building optimization solutions like ours. We can shave up to 10 percent off of a building’s overall energy use by simply guiding its consumption through peak demand periods. Better yet, we can sustain the building at zero energy drift once reductions have been achieved.
Now let’s consider the return on investment for building owner/operators. SB 100 is not about giving to owner/operators, so they’re going to have to make the call on the ROI of alternative energy generation, storage, etc. Or they’ll do nothing and let the taxpayers and utilities hash it out. Cloud-based solutions like ours offer a deployable-today solution with next-to-no capital investment because they leverage the existing building management system. So you don’t have to wait for the IoT revolution or rip out existing hardware. Instead, use what you’ve already invested in differently.
Bottom line is that building owner/operators can contribute to SB 100’s historical goals and have a dramatic impact now while saving money.
Michael Nark, is President & CEO of BuildingIQ. He has more than 25 years of experience in software and technology-enabled service delivery businesses. Before joining BuildingIQ, Michael served as President & CEO at Power Analytics Corporation, Prenova, and GEOCOMtms. Michael holds a B.S. in Engineering and Economics from Miami University.