As businesses around the world continue to focus on becoming more sustainable in the race to net zero carbon emissions, the way Australia designs, constructs, operates and maintains buildings must change rapidly to meet net zero targets.

Speaking at the Innovation Summit from Schneider Electric, vice president for digital buildings, Louise Monger shared her insights on the future of buildings and how some of Australia’s biggest industries plan to use building infrastructure to go green.

“Buildings are contributing to 40% of global emissions, meaning they are a major contributor to the current climate crisis we are trying to tackle. We need to rethink the way we are designing and operating our buildings now if we have any hope of reaching our 2050 target for net zero,” she said.

“The switch to more sustainably efficient buildings won’t happen overnight, but it has started. It’s a dramatic change that will take many years to fully implement. However, it is a crucial step to take, particularly for businesses actively trying to achieve their own emissions goals.”

According to Monger, there are three main sectors set to see dramatic changes in the commercial building space including retail.

She says there is a great opportunity for operators of petrol stations, retail chains, and supermarkets to better understand their environmental footprint and energy usage, particularly with the high traffic in these premises.

“Given the size of Australia and how far and widespread our retail is, retailers need to begin thinking how they can manage and control their assets remotely. Utilising IoT and connected devices has the power to drive efficiency across geographically dispersed portfolios,” Monger explained.

“Five years ago, the cost of change was a large prohibitor for many companies. However, inflation is driving the need for greater operational efficiency and sustainability targets are creating the requirement for sustainability reporting, so the investment in this technology is becoming not just viable but an absolute necessity in Australia.”