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Emissions from commercial buildings are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gasses – but unless you’re Google or Apple there’s not a heck of a lot you can do about it. Or so it might seem.

In the US, commercial and residential buildings are responsible for 11 percent of emissions while worldwide the figure is above 8 percent.

This doesn’t account for the emissions generated by the energy sources supplying these buildings, either.

It’s why governments have been spending billions of dollars trying not only to make buildings as energy efficient as possible, but investing in clean energy sources to supply these buildings.

For example, the city of Chicago started a building retrofit program in 2012 after finding that buildings accounted for a whopping 70 percent of the city’s emissions.

Governments around the world are also regularly increasing the energy abatement requirements of new buildings built, and increasingly insisting that older buildings are retrofitted with energy-saving tech.

This government pressure, not to mention the pressure to be good corporate citizens, is forcing the private sector to act on building emissions.

Tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Apple have gone as far as directly investing in renewable energy projects (with associated offtake) to make sure their energy-hungry buildings and servers aren’t harming the environment.

But this sort of direct investment isn’t possible if you don’t happen to have a fair chunk of change lying around.

It’s why the likes of Buddy Platform Limited (ASX:BUD) are trying to plug the gap with a solution designed for emissions abatement without the billion dollar price tag.

The Buddy solution

BUD’s solution to the problem is to provide end users the Buddy Ohm — a simple and affordable natural resource and environmental monitoring solution that helps make every space smarter.

It does this by monitoring spaces (rooms, floors or whole buildings) and providing insight on resource consumption (electricity, water, gas), generation (solar) and comfort (temperature, humidity) back to property managers and building occupants.

It’s easy plug and play solution can often be self-installed, or for more complex set-ups can be accomplished with one site visit, which is a boon for building managers who, in the past, have been sold energy monitoring equipment but found it too difficult to manage.

Buddy Platform Limited's environmental dashboard
The Buddy Platform’s dashboard

It helps building managers understand how much energy and water their building is consuming, and collates that information in a simple-to-understand software interface.

For example, within 24 hours of the Buddy Ohm installation, Seattle’s historic 5th Avenue Theatre found unaccounted for spikes in energy consumption and were able to eliminate the spikes immediately.

Use of Buddy Ohm also created a useful baseline for the theatres energy use prior to future energy system upgrades.

While BUD isn’t the only IoT solution in the market, it is shaping up as the easiest to use, and it’s affordability is key for many small and medium sized companies who aren’t prepared to make a capital investment.

Buddy’s customers pay a reasonable monthly fee based on how many sensors are being monitored.

This allows them access to real-time energy use data in which to make critical business decisions to be more sustainable and potentially cut costs.

Traditionally, building managers only receive information about their building’s energy usage when they receive a bill from the electricity company – but with a real-time system like the Buddy Ohm, the feedback loop is significantly shortened.

But knowing how much energy a building is using is only half the battle – knowing what to actually do about it can be a complex beast.

For example, will simply changing a few light bulbs to energy-efficient models be enough to get power usage under control or will a building manager need to take more substantial action?

Buddy’s Managed Services offering makes recommendations based on the inputs and the vendor’s domain expertise, giving building managers actionable insights rather than just raw data.

BUD has also set up a carbon-offset service to give building managers a simple way to mitigate their building’s carbon emissions without the hassle of calculating energy use equivalents in carbon and figuring out what to do about it.

Having solutions like Buddy Ohm are crucial if cities around the world are going to get building emissions under control.

They allow building managers to take action on their energy usage, and provide a way for companies to prove their green credentials without spending billions of dollars on upstream deals.

This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with Buddy Platform Limited. This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.