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An Approach to Sustainable Real Estate Management

Silja Hueber, SAP AG

When companies started to actively investigate sustainability in a business context in the early 2000s, the common understanding often only considered the carbon footprint. This one-sided perception changed, when companies started to look into other aspects of environmental sustainability like water consumption and waste production. But until then, only a few companies actively managed other areas of what is today called the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) criteria, including employee wellbeing, biodiversity, exploitation of workers or conflicts with ethical principles. Nevertheless, the carbon footprint remains an important sustainability measure for the real estate industry, as buildings in the European Union are responsible for as much as 36 per cent of carbon emissions and 40 per cent of energy consumption. However, sustainable real estate management involves more than these two criteria, which is why our goal as SAP is to tackle sustainability more holistically, going above and beyond the standard reporting.

SAP partners with Honeywell to make sense of disparate data

So when SAP teamed up with Honeywell to create a cloud-based solution, which allows our customers to make data-driven decisions to improve their real estate portfolios in the light of the ESG criteria we combined data from various sources to enable users to get deeper insights and to identify sustainability improvement potentials in areas beyond cost and consumption.

The partnership started out as a co-innovation project with an initial focus on building performance, considering energy consumption and generic building data. The partners then extended the data sources and evolved the analytical abilities to areas beyond mere consumption data, including financial, social and maintenance data, to drive sustainable real estate management more holistically. When aggregated, normalized, and displayed in intuitive dashboard this combined data can give an indication how well the sustainability aspects beyond the carbon footprint are managed, by making financial, social, and governance aspects of sustainability transparent as well.

To achieve this, the partners are bringing a wide variety of data to the table:

  • Honeywell FORGE provides operational data from smart meters like electricity, gas, and water consumption.

  • Further, Honeywell included a KPI that indicates the availability of central technical systems like HVAC systems, escalators, and elevators.

  • By combining this KPI with the number of maintenance requests for these systems and their operating cost the future system availability can be assessed with more accuracy: a low number of open tickets is an indication that issues are taken care of quickly – even before the systems

break down – and that practices like preventive maintenance are in place. This approach to building maintenance reduces costs as larger breakdowns caused by smaller failures can be prevented and it improves the occupant experience as the building performs well for the user.

  • The operational data from Honeywell FORGE is combined with real estate and financial data ultimately delivering easy to understand dashboards allowing for the easy comparison of building performance data.

  • A good occupant experience is more and more key for talent attraction and retention and thus for companies to run a sustainable and successful business. Factors like temperature, noise, and air quality contribute to the perception of the working environment. The two partners are collaborating on that end, too: Honeywell aggregates and presents sensor-based data like building temperature or CO2 in the air in a dashboard, which can be enhanced by survey and feedback data collected from the employees and other users with the help of SAP’s experience management solution.

  • Another aspect that influences employee satisfaction is the optimization of space utilization: Sensor-based utilization data is provided by Honeywell FORGE and aggregated with data provided by SAP, which is based on team assignments to buildings, spaces, and floors or assignment of employees and third parties to workplaces. Currently, this is especially important because the pandemic requires more space per occupant to secure safe operations within the building.

Important KPIs at a glance

The powerful partnership between Honeywell and SAP brings together multiple data sets from various sources in easy to understand dashboards to allow for a more sustainable and holistic real estate management. This leads to higher efficiency and higher employee satisfaction and at the same time to lower costs and lower environmental impact by enabling real estate professionals and sustainability experts to understand not only the environmental performance of their real estate portfolios and identify areas for improvement, but also to get insights into social and governance aspects and act on them.

Get in touch if you are striving for sustainable real estate management and want to learn more about SAP’s joint offering with Honeywell.

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