Market Research and Insight

No one knows for sure how many buildings there are in the world, but we do know this: many of today’s structures are woefully...

No one knows for sure how many buildings there are in the world, but we do know this: many of today’s structures are woefully inefficient.

That matters because inefficiency means wasted energy: electricity and natural gas that could be used elsewhere for other purposes. Inefficiency also means money wasted on needlessly high heating and cooling bills … not to mention needless carbon emissions that we’d be much better off without.

While estimates vary, it’s safe to say that, in large parts of the developed world, buildings account for some 40 to 50 percent of energy consumption, and for similar proportions of each country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Any strategy that can help reduce those figures helps us become more sustainable overall, and reduces expenses too. What’s not to like about that?

If the building energy management industry hasn’t taken off as quickly as it might have up until now, blame it on the fact that home and commercial energy prices have remained generally affordable (although fuel poverty has become a growing concern in parts of the UK, northeastern US and elsewhere). But that could change pretty quickly. In Britain, for example, four of the country’s “Big Six” energy firms have announced price increases … not just once, but twice this year. Continued price pressures like those are likely to make smart-building technologies end up looking a lot sexier than they do today.

Over the past year, Greenbang has written about a lot of efficient-building innovations that could help make a considerable difference in our energy future. Which ones are most promising? As our Greenbang 2011 Awards — which cover buildings and nine other categories — get under way, we’d like to hear your thoughts: which of the companies listed below offer the best strategies for making tomorrow’s buildings smarter and more energy efficient? Know of another we haven’t mentioned? Send us your suggestions. Email your thoughts to managing editor Shirley Siluk at shirley@greenbang.com or enter your company’s smart-building offering in our “Buildings” category today.

Smart-building companies:

We’ll be taking a look at innovators in other Greenbang 2011 Award categories in later posts.

Dan Ilett