Are Smart Buildings the Key to Achieving Net Zero?

Smart buildings and net zero targets have become prominent subjects in recent times, yet how do they intertwine? Could smart technology incorporated within our infrastructure help us inch closer to our net zero objectives?
Digital Twin + LoRaWAN

Making your Infrastructure Intelligent

Intelligent buildings are composed of technology integrated directly into the infrastructure. It is the intricate communication and collaboration between networks and devices that makes this technology 'smart'. This smart technology in buildings enables real-time data generation, feeding back into a closed-loop system, transforming them into 'communicative buildings' that relay a building's current status.

So, why is this data essential? In the absence of data, we're often oblivious to what's transpiring and unaware of any problems in our buildings. Consequently, we can't measure a building's environmental impact.

Smart technologies can determine intricate details regarding water and energy consumption, room occupancy, and even people's usual routines within the buildings.

At Novacene, our LoRaWAN IoT sensors can be utilised in various parts of a building to generate this data, helping us visualise real-time consumption patterns, highlight potential issues, and act upon this intelligence. Astonishingly, it was announced in 2022 that public LoRaWAN networks ballooned by 66% over three years, indicating a massive demand for this technology due to its extensive coverage range and low power consumption.

Accelerate Towards Net Zero with Data

Data generated via IoT sensors can indicate the overuse of resources like gas, electricity, and water, allowing for actions to be taken to reduce consumption. When we're more cognisant of excessive usage, we can consciously tweak our behaviours to be more sustainable, consequently saving money.

We can also gain a clearer understanding of how people inhabit a building. Sensors can detect an unusually high electricity output in a specific room, suggesting it is overcrowded. Suppose this were a work environment. In that case, decisions could be made to better distribute desks and people, ensuring each person is allocated adequate space and resources.

This could also apply when the air conditioning is set too high in a certain room. With the data, the air conditioning can be adjusted to the appropriate level where people can be comfortable. However, this is just one of many examples. Innumerable approaches and solutions can be implemented based on real-time data to ensure buildings are run as efficiently as possible.

Integrating Duty of Care into Net Zero Strategies

While we often discuss net zero in a global context, it's essential to consider the individual impact the environment has on humans. The World Health Organisation predicts that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 deaths a year. Smart technology can mitigate this loss of life and allow people to exist in more resilient surroundings, helping them live healthier lives.

Landlords bear a duty of care to their tenants, ensuring that living environments are safe and secure. Sensors are an effective way to pre-empt potential issues ahead of time, such as detecting conditions susceptible to damp and mould. The importance here is that risks are detected before materialising into reality, so preventive measures can be put in place to avert illness, injury, or broader impact on human life.

Likewise, sensors can also detect issues relating to Legionella bacteria, temperature, water ingress, and humidity. Landlords and tenants can have peace of mind knowing that with the implementation of smart technology, their living environments are closely monitored for any health risks ahead of time.

However, landlords aren't the only ones responsible. Local authorities, particularly the housing officers and maintenance teams within them, are accountable for their tenants' duty of care.

Traditionally, local authorities have been more reactive to issues rather than proactive. However, with a smart building, real-time data is gathered into a central system for analysis – such as real-time reports of building temperature. This is incredibly useful for detecting issues for more vulnerable citizens; a sensor can detect low temperatures in a house, indicating potential fuel poverty – an issue that affects 13.4% of households. In these instances, the local authority can reach out to the occupant and offer support that may otherwise never be sought out.

Collaboration is Key

In times of financial uncertainty and climate change, it's crucial that we collaborate to protect one another and build resilience. There's an opportunity to not only create smart buildings from scratch but to update our current infrastructure into something that works with nature and the world around us now and for years to come.

Achieving net zero is not an easy task, with many naming it as the “biggest challenge” for the built environment. Nonetheless, complacency won't help either. Technology is growing at an exponential rate, and new sustainable solutions are being developed all the time to assist the building sector in the net zero journey. The power to transform our buildings, lives and future is now within reach.

The Novacene Edge

At Novacene, we believe in the transformative power of technology to improve lives, buildings, and the environment. Our goal is to make this technology affordable, fast, and scalable beyond the pilot stage. LoRaWAN IoT sensors are an ideal solution for buildings. They provide extensive coverage and consume low power, all without the need for IT infrastructure.

With our technology, we aim to help businesses save energy, reduce carbon emissions, and create a more sustainable future.


While the journey towards net zero is challenging, smart buildings offer a promising solution. With the power of data and smart technology, we can make our buildings more efficient, reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a sustainable future. At Novacene, we're committed to this mission, and we believe that together, we can make a difference.

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