Coming to the end of 2018, new figures have shown that global carbon emissions have reached a record high and there is no clear end in sight to climate change.
We hope that some of the upcoming trends in 2019 can allow us to start working towards net zero emissions. So what can we expect to see in 2019…
Increased policies and compliance
This year saw the introduction of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) which have been the strongest building regulations so far in a bid to make a faster move to low carbon buildings. Next year it is very likely that these regulations will be tightened, or new tougher regulations will be brought into place.
2019 will also see a number of companies rushing to seek best practice with the deadline for Phase 2 of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) on 5th December 2019. ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK that meet the qualification criteria. The assessments involve looking at energy use in buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.
Focus on indoor air quality
2018 also saw the built environment focus heavily on the health and wellbeing of occupants and the effects of indoor air quality (IAQ). IAQ refers to the environmental conditions inside a building that affects the comfort, work performance and the health of its occupants. Considering we spend 90% of our time indoors, it is necessary to be concerned with the quality of our working environments as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that buildings with significant IAQ problems are among the top five environmental threats to public health.
We have created a software solution, arbn well, designed to monitor IAQ for health and wellbeing. Using sensors deployed at high density, the system measures IAQ, lighting levels, thermal comfort and humidity. We’ll soon be integrating this service with another exciting product in 2019, both focusing on improving occupant health and wellbeing.
Onsite energy storage
An increasing focus on renewables has been prominent in 2018 and 2019 will see this progress in more detail, particularly the adoption of Automated Demand Response (ADR). The power of onsite energy storage and onsite generation enables building owners to switch power usage from grid to onsite automatically. This saves energy costs while also receiving payments from the Grid for reducing usage.
As R&D grows around battery storage, 2019 will be the year where we see more of this being deployed in commercial buildings and even homes as the government continues to drive us all towards renewable usage.
Stress testing buildings to withstand the changes from climate change will be a strong focus in 2019, particularly with increased targets being made by countries all around the world. The UK Green Building Council has already started significant work in this area by creating a Climate Resilience Resource map to inform others on the current initiatives that are taking place to tackle climate change in the built environment and to encourage others to do the same. arbnco has been added to the map because of our product, arbn climate, which is an adaptation tool to stress-test buildings and building systems with plausible future climatic conditions. The full map can be accessed here.
The increase in demand response grew in 2018 but is likely to develop further in 2019. Demand response allows consumers to play a role in the operation of the electric grid by encouraging them to reduce or shift their electricity usage during peak periods by offering incentives.
In many cases, demand response is encouraging consumers to move away from traditional electricity methods and move towards deploying renewable technologies. It’s very likely that this will develop in more detail in 2019 as this incentivisation reaches smaller companies and the technology develops a new level of automation.