Solar Panels Make Sense,
but Human Connections Make Buildings Smart
by Rosemary Dreger Carey
When people at solutions-based companies like BASF, CopperTree Analytics and GE Solar meet face-to-face with the people who’s job it is to make their buildings energy smart, relationships are forged. Needles move.
That’s the conclusion I formed after observing the recent “Future Facilities Summit,” a three-day Summit organized by FMA Summits, held at the Marriott Glenpointe in Teaneck, New Jersey.
Wearing my green writer’s hat, a profession I chose because of my desire to do what I can to help our warming planet make the fastest possible transition to renewable enegy, I arrived with highest hopes of learning the ins and outs of all manner of smart building technologies.
As I walked the aisles, listened to Powerpoint presentations, and chatted with building owners, facilities managers and smart building solutions providers, my highest hopes were easily met.
I discovered that companies like AES Distributed Energy and GE Solar are poised for an unprecedented surge in demand for solar energy; how an innovative technology from Dolphin WaterCare can render water virtually chemical free while conserving millions of gallons; how the U.S. Department of Energy reports we are wasting $18.5 million in lost energy from compressed air systems, yet Kaeser Compressors, Inc. offers a technology to capture it and use compressed air as a utility.
Revelations like these — which can help companies meet their sustainability goals and conserve natural resources — unfolded by the minute. My hopes for a world free of fossil fuels and a safe climate future for our children were renewed.
But what struck me most was the realization that all of the advanced renewable energy technologies in the world can’t replace the power of substantive, face-to-face conversation between committed professionals seeking to understand each other’s capabilities and needs, and arrive at the right fit.
By conversing with solutions providers at their exhibit tables, a national retailer found much-needed resources as it begins revamping its more than 1,000 showrooms. An operator of a chain of group homes for severely disabled adults discovered building solutions to improve the comfort and safety of its clients and reduce energy consumption. At meals and during breaks, virtually everyone seemed to concur that investing in LED ligting is a sure bet, with astonishingly fast payback, generous rebates and incentives and attractive financing options.
The business of Montreal-based FMA Summits is to connect solutions providers with companies in need of intelligent building solutions. The personal takeway from this writer and climate mama after covering FMA’s New Jersey Summit: we are headed toward future powered by the limitless energy of sun. Authentic, personal connections will get us there.
Rosemary Dreger Carey is a Climate Mama extraordinaire, an environmental activist and green writer at Copyrose.com. Send Rosemary a message @copyrose.com