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March 29, 2023

Every Asset Counts: Retrofit Solutions for the Entire Building Portfolio

The early adoption of proactive, digital building operations represents a key challenge in modern asset management. The cloud platform as a standard tool of technical building equipment plays a pivotal role in addressing this challenge.

However, real estate portfolios are diverse. Buildings not only differ in their technical equipment but also in their suitability for digital operational optimization. The urgency to modernize outdated building technology is evident: buildings without digital interfaces not only lose in user comfort and energy efficiency but also in market value. Regulatory factors increase the pressure on investors, further raising the stranding risk of the affected assets.

Fortunately, specialized solutions are already available in the market to bring smart data availability and energy efficiency to every building. In the following, we will outline the three crucial steps on the path to an optimally operated real estate portfolio.

A 3-Step Guide to Designing the Energy-Efficient Smart Building of the Future

Step 1: Portfolio Analysis

The first important step on the path to digital operational optimization is conducting a portfolio analysis. The objective is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the building characteristics and assess the suitability of each property for digital operational optimization. The focus should be placed on the technical building equipment, as it has a significant impact on energy efficiency. To categorize the individual properties, we recommend to classify them according to the following building categories:

Step 2: Action Plan and Individual Retrofit

Based on the results of the portfolio analysis, an individual roadmap can be developed to upgrade or retrofit each building according to its classification:

  • Categories  A-C: These  buildings already have digital communication interfaces. The interfaces either allow for immediate plug-and-play connectivity or can be utilized, if necessary, through additional hardware or in collaboration with the automation system’s manufacturer. This enables the collection of data from IoT devices or automation systems and structuring it in a cloud platform.
  • Category D: The technical building equipment in this category either has only analog interfaces or no longer complies with current standards. The data from these buildings can be made digitally available through a technical retrofit. Examples of retrofit measures include targeted implementation of wireless sensors to measure temperature and air quality or the installation of controllers, e.g., on heating and cooling distribution systems. In some cases, replacing the existing analog system with a digital automation system may be recommended.

Step 3: Digital Operational Optimization

Once all retrofit measures have been successfully implemented, you can start with the optimization of individual assets during ongoing operations. Plug-and-play connectivity is established across all trades in the building through the newly created interfaces. Artificial Intelligence is employed to continuously analyze the information and derive prioritized recommendations for action. These self-learning technologies automate the process, ensuring predictive control of building operations based on demand, weather forecasts, and occupancy. The following graphic illustrates the process using the example of the aedifion cloud platform:

Incentive Programs and Cost Allocation: Win-Win for all Stakeholders

With a few exceptions, the above-named measures are billed on a monthly basis as a classic SaaS model ("software as a service"). In many cases, the monthly license fees can be considered as operating costs and be passed on to the tenants, who in turn benefit from increased comfort  and significantly reduced ancillary costs. Experience has shown that the achieved savings far exceed the minimal costs incurred through allocation which should be individually assessed for each property. For certain individual measures of retrofitting and operational optimization, it may also be advisable to consider the possibility of cost reimbursement through incentive programs. All in all, the described processes are clearly in the interest of all stakeholders.

From Plug-and-Play to Retrofit: With aedifion Every Building Becomes Digitally Accessible

As demonstrated, significant potential can be unlocked, particularly in existing buildings, with minimal measures. At aedifion, we guide property owners with tailored solutions throughout the entire process. Even outdated systems do not stop us from our mission to enable efficient and continuously optimized building operations.

Based on a standardized questionnaire, we can assess the technical condition of the buildings either through remote analysis or on-site evaluation. Our engineers inspect the technical building equipment of each asset, and categorize them according to the schema mentioned above.

Using the results of the portfolio analysis, we develop a detailed action plan for each building. Together with our network of hardware providers and installation companies, we always find the optimal solution, even for Category D properties. Our team helps to identify suitable incentive programs for retrofit measures and provides support during the application process, ensuring that property owners get the most out of their investment.

With the aedifion cloud platform and and a full-service package, we actively drive optimization during ongoing operations. We offer comprehensive support, from data collection and service provider management to the implementation of detailed decarbonization roadmaps. 

Benefits at a glance

Whether it is new construction or existing buildings, analog or digital – with aedifion, no asset is left behind. The benefits are clear:

  • Energy and cost efficiency across the entire portfolio
  • Data basis for a comprehensive reporting
  • Increased user comfort and tenant satisfaction
  • Data-driven recommendation of renovation measures
  • Cost reduction despite rising CO2 prices
  • Minimization of failure and stranding risks

So why hesitate any longer? Have our engineers inspect your buildings now and digitally optimize your operations.