Honeywell has released its predictions for emerging trends that will help shape building operations and technologies in 2023 and beyond. Top experts at Honeywell revealed insights on opportunities to make buildings more sustainable, safer and occupant focused.
What are Honeywell’s predictions for 2023?
Honeywell’s predictions for 2023 include both ongoing and burgeoning trends:
The acceleration of the ‘Electrify Everything’ movement
Communities across the United States recently began prohibiting new natural gas hookups, and major cities are considering pro-electric legislation, primarily because a building that burns gas or oil to produce heat or hot water is unlikely to meet carbon reduction goals.
To help advance the replacement of fossil-fuel burning HVACs and water heaters, the Inflation Reduction Act includes a $250 million investment for the domestic manufacturing of electric heat pumps for both commercial and residential use. In addition, as building owners face increasing pressure from stakeholders and regulatory agencies to curb energy consumption and reduce their facilities’ carbon impact, the electrification trend will accelerate.
“An all-electric building requires not just a viable sustainability plan but also a smart controls strategy, which starts with establishing realistic baselines of current energy performance and taking a hard look at existing infrastructure including supply and demand side power,” commented Udaya Shrivastava, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Honeywell.
“It also requires creative thinking, investment in ready now technologies and a holistic effort across the company. Making these changes may seem prohibitively expensive, but solutions exist that can measurably cut operating expenses and help reduce carbon emissions.”
Cybersecurity embedded and integrated into digital innovation
As the Internet of Things continues to merge operational technology (OT) and IT systems – and cyberattacks increase in frequency as well as sophistication – advanced AI/ML-enabled cybersecurity will become foundational to the design of digitalised building tech systems. At the same time, the shortage of cybersecurity professionals will likely remain a challenge.
“Generally, there still remains a lack of understanding on the importance of hardening OT infrastructure and having proper protocols in place in the case of an incident,” commented Mirel Sehic, Vice President and General Manager, Buildings Cybersecurity, Honeywell.
“Cybersecurity starts with technology development, as digitalisation continues, engineers and product development teams need to take a security and privacy by design approach.”
Dynamically responsive buildings will be possible
Building controls have used setpoints that operate on the assumption that every space is 100% occupied, which is no longer the norm due to an uptick in hybrid workforce. The 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction found that the sector accounted for 34% of energy demand and 37% of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021.
Building management systems will increasingly leverage AI/ML algorithms to optimise energy efficiency and occupant well-being, which will no longer be viewed as mutually exclusive priorities. These algorithms can build sophisticated models that reveal hidden energy waste as they weigh conditions and demand against occupancy, weather conditions and utility pricing.
“It’s become imperative for building owners to make meaningful, near-term change in their carbon impact. To do this, they need better data about their operations,” said Manish Sharma, Vice President and General Manager of Sustainable Buildings at Honeywell.
“Given the heightened awareness of, and investment in, sustainability, it’s critical for a firm to know and communicate to stakeholders how its facilities are optimising energy baselines to ultimately reduce their carbon footprint, without impacting the occupant experience.”
Cities will look to build energy resilience into operational plans
As extreme climate and weather events occur more frequently, energy resilience will continue to gain attention. Cities will need solutions that help them better respond to power outages, especially where they affect critical infrastructure like hospitals and traffic control systems.
Microgrids and battery energy storage systems that leverage real-time, adaptive control strategies will help cities and communities provide essential services in the wake of disasters.
“We can expect to see significant public investment in community resilience particularly in the US, supported in part by the $1.2T in federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Communities that embed energy resilience programs, will be better prepared to mitigate outages, improve operating costs, while supporting their sustainability initiatives,” said Matthew Britt, General Manager, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Honeywell.
These trends collectively embody a common theme: Tech is becoming integral to every facet of building operations. Whether it’s helping to help reduce carbon impact, defend against cyberattacks, optimise energy performance and occupant well-being, or make cities more resilient, it can provide a competitive advantage and help reduce operating expenses.