Offices Can Be Healthier, Thanks to Technology

All businesses, large and small, public and private, are required to reconsider the environmental and social effects of their present activities. There is now a recognition that sustainability should include a company’s use of sustainable buildings, how happy people are in their workplaces, and how effectively the organization uses its resources. With growing understanding comes humanity’s most powerful friend — technology. Bengt Johannes Lundberg, CEO of Disruptive Technologies, explains how sensor technology, which is now more accessible and inexpensive than ever, can help companies in making their working environment and operations safer, smarter, and more sustainable.

What technologies are businesses adopting to make the working environment and operations more efficient, safe, and sustainable?

Understanding how operations and buildings are currently doing is the first step in making them more safe, smart, and sustainable. Smart building technology is now a must-have for businesses who are relocating their operations to a new location, for example. However, because existing buildings were not constructed with this technology in mind, this is not the most effective or feasible approach.

This is when retrofitting comes into play. Building managers and property owners are already bringing technology to existing buildings to make them smart in order to address the difficulties of climate change and create an optimal environment for employees. Wireless sensors provide any organization with a rapid, dependable, and cost-effective solution to collect data about their facility without disturbing operations or spending a fortune.

Data-driven insights can help reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. At a time when we need all hands on deck to combat climate change, just a select few were profiting from cutting-edge technologies. Tiny, resilient, inexpensive, and simple-to-use sensors have made these solutions available to people and buildings in ways that were previously unthinkable.

Sensor technology is the only viable option for meeting mandated energy-efficiency targets and avoiding stranded assets. Smart sensor technology is inexpensive, widely available, and simple to use. There is no need to throw away obsolete equipment in order to create space for better technology in an effort to make assets and buildings smart. As a result, there is no more e-waste or wasted money. Sensors are now as little as a stamp and may be installed on almost any piece of equipment. They are also plug-and-play, so no technical knowledge is necessary for installation or setup. There has also been a significant improvement in battery life, with some lasting up to 15 years and requiring no maintenance.

Sensors gather any type of data from the building environment. Data on the temperature and humidity of an office environment, as well as equipment & assets, can serve as a standard for analyzing the energy performance of the facility. Companies may use additional analytics to address crucial ESG-related issues, such as if their assets are overheating or if their HVAC system is energy-efficient. By making decisions based on this data, companies can ensure their operations are more efficient, safe, and sustainable.

How are businesses leading the way and how can public data follow?

Using smart sensors and analytics, a London office was able to lower its power use by 31% in just 5 months. The company was able to minimize energy use, lower its carbon footprint, and improve the customer experience by implementing an IoT-powered workplace using smart sensor technologies. They were also able to identify 42 legionella threats and save 49 percent on manual labor costs. Another case in point is a prominent Norwegian oil and gas production business, which revamped its whole workplace using data from smart sensor technologies. And these cases are just in one office. One of the most extensive deployments of this technology comes from a global technology business that fitted its workplace with thousands of sensors in hundreds of locations, improving its workspace and conserving energy (winning a Verdantix Smart Building Innovation Award). These companies have all made great strides in terms of environmental management and sustainability, all thanks to sensor technology. And it’s important that these case studies are shared and talked about, in order to create more awareness about what can be achieved right now, with available technology.

Collecting and analyzing data to improve ESG efforts is being recognized by both the private and governmental sectors. They are both subject to the same environmental, social, and government restrictions and compete in the same candidate pool. The private sector, on the other hand, may move faster in incorporating this technology and taking the required measures to make their buildings safe, smart, and sustainable. Deploying these technologies in schools, libraries, and all public infrastructure involves lengthy processes and bureaucracy. However, when it comes to embracing this new technology, the public sector should remove some of the red tape. The sooner they begin, the sooner they will be able to reap the rewards. And by the time they make a decision, it may be too late.

What is an “analysis paralysis” and how can companies avoid it?

The true value of data rests in how it is used rather than how much of it is available. Companies want to base their ESG compliance strategies and decision-making processes on actual data now that sensor technology is more widely available, and by using analytics based on business goals.

But most businesses get into a data trap, also known as “analysis paralysis,” in which they amass data about operations with no purpose or capacity to evaluate it. Companies that want to get the most out of their data should define a goal before implementing the technology and invest in people who know how to analyze it. The latter might be an in-house data analyst or an outside firm that can assist them in transforming that data into meaningful information.

Even if a company does not have the resources to engage in data analysis immediately, it is critical to have a goal before collection. They must begin with a goal and then implement the technology to collect the data required to achieve that objective. When they have the bandwidth to acquire the necessary analytical capabilities, they will have all of the data they need to make decisions that benefit their people, planet, and profit.

Bengt Johannes Lundberg

Bengt is the CEO of Disruptive Technologies. He holds an Engineering degree from Vestfold University College. Bengt has more than 16 years of international operations experience within the supply chain management, manufacturing, and telecom industries. He also has a decade-long experience with international team leadership, building cross-cultural, high-performing teams.

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