As more and more organisations take their business operations to the cloud – in other words, engage in disruption – there’s less demand for physical real estate.

Hence, those who build or own real estate are finding themselves at a disadvantage against a range of “asset-less” players.

Think Airbnb as one prime example. It’s now is worth about $USD30 billion – about the same as the Hilton and Hyatt groups combined.

According to Peter Halliday, head of building performance and sustainability at Siemens, “there’s a struggle on multiple fronts to match the new pace of business model innovation, and to reduce the capital strain that buildings place on balance sheets.”

One way to do this is to reduce building energy costs. For new builds, it’s using technologies such as prefabrication, integrated solar and sensor technologies.

For existing buildings, the picture becomes more complex. The US Department of Energy last year found that the energy consumed in residential and commercial buildings accounts for 20.1 percent of the total of all energy consumed worldwide.

In fact, building energy usage is the second largest expense on most companies’ balance sheets, accounting for 40 percent of primary energy use, with up to half of this literally going to waste.

Considering that energy represents 30 percent of a building’s entire operating costs, reducing this waste should be of prime importance to any building designer or owner.

A common pitfall is to measure success simply by looking at the cost savings or reduction in energy consumption alone. At the same time, the implementation effort for all these strategies is multi-dimensional.

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