What if we total you commercial buildings consume one-fifth of the total US energy consumption? That’s what the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) claims. Commercial real estate represents 20 percent of the United States’ total energy consumption. Effective energy management of commercial buildings isn’t just a way to reduce greenhouse emissions. Technology retrofits and building monitoring systems cut energy use by as much as 30 percent. Key technologies for reducing wasted energy use include:

#1. Occupancy sensing

These beacons and sensors range in size and scope, but effectively monitor high energy use items like lighting, cooling, and humidity. The latest in occupancy sensors automatically adjust empty and occupied spaces based on the seasons, time of day, and upcoming scheduled activities. Some sensors tied into a building management system will start to cool down a conference room for a morning meeting overnight when it costs less to run HVAC.

#2. Measuring energy output

Kontrol Energy uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to track each device’s energy output so every stakeholder can track their energy consumption. Building and asset managers can see down to the specific room to target building areas with a higher energy bill than others. This critical data helps facility managers understand how their buildings and businesses consume energy. Without it, managers can’t target areas to reduce use and costs.

Software models a building’s energy consumption. Energy Plus and Open Studio have options to experiment with energy consumption models and building loads. The software is excellent during the initial design or retrofit stage to experiment with what upgrades will increase energy efficiency.

#3. Automated monitoring hardware

Heating and cooling accounts for 25 percent of a building’s total energy use, says the EIA.

The challenge in commercial buildings is to provide the right amount of comfort depending on use, day, and occupants. IoT devices track building use and some automatically adjust based on patterns. These same devices monitor systems, like a HVAC unit, for efficiency. The hardware highlights changes in efficiency that might indicate a problem. After, all a well-run unit uses less energy than a broken one. Immediate action can get a system back running faster, saving time and money.

#4. Demand response program

Businesses can give back to the power grid with a demand response program and earn income at the same time. How? Utility companies will pay participating companies for “powering down” during times the grid experiences strain. Businesses will need backup power sources, like generators, but the cost of running these could be less than what the power companies payout. Program rules vary by region.

#5. Windows

New advances to windows make the latest models more energy-efficient, but who would have thought windows were smart? The latest innovations include dynamic glass, where occupants remotely control the window tinting. The extra shade cools interior spaces on summer days or the extra light warms the room during chilly winter days.

Building and facilities managers, weigh the benefits of installing energy-saving technology in your commercial spaces. The technology could increase revenue by reducing operating expenses like energy costs while attracting prime tenants.