By taking a platform-based approach, BuildingMinds enables emission reductions and carbon risk management through smart real estate portfolio analytics. Microsoft supports the Schindler startup on its sustainable mission with its technology and expertise.
Decarbonization and digitization are changing the real estate industry. In Switzerland alone, energy consumption in office buildings causes around 1.6 million tons of CO₂e, according to an estimate by sustainability analysts of The Footprint Firm commissioned by Microsoft Switzerland. This corresponds to around 4 percent of total annual emissions in Switzerland. The need to reduce these emissions is urgent.
More and more companies are also committing to the net zero target by 2050, and the way to get there is clear: It is through new and better insights using data. The startup BuildingMinds, founded by Schindler in 2019, has therefore made sustainability a central theme of its solution. Through a one-stop cloud platform, property portfolio owners and managers can manage their resource consumption, CO2 targets, employee satisfaction goals and profitability KPIs. By leveraging these data-driven insights, BuildingMinds enables its clientele to plan and analyze individually to make the best possible decisions for the present and for a sustainable future.
Digital twins on Azure Cloud
The platform is based on an industry-specific Common Data Model (CDM), state-of-the-art cloud architecture, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The CDM for Real Estate is co-developed with industry experts in the open International Building Performance & Data Initiative (IBPDI), founded by Microsoft and BuildingMinds. This enables digital twins at a whole new level, providing data-driven insights and full visibility around building performance – from the strategic portfolio level down to the granular equipment view within a building. “The width and wealth of Microsoft’s services allows us to address truly complex industry problems”, says Duncan Binger, CTO at BuildingMinds. “Building on the Azure Platform helps us to deliver our promise of a first-class cloud platform to our customers and empowers them to drive the sustainability and profitability of their real estate portfolios.“
In addition to full transparency regarding energy consumption and CO2 emissions, the BuildingMinds platform also analyzes the extent to which properties are at risk of failing to meet industry-standard decarbonization norms (e.g. CRREM targets). Such stranded assets are at risk of significant value loss due to reduced demand and regulatory measures. BuildingMinds supports its clients in identifying these properties, simulating decarbonization options and calculating possible costs by pricing CO2 emissions.
Common sustainability mission
The company also receives support of the Microsoft for Startups Switzerland program. “BuildingMinds and Microsoft share the belief that with the democratization of data and the integration of AI, we can forge a path towards a more sustainable future. It is a pleasure to work with a company with a perfect alignment of our core values”, says Thomas Winter, Partner Lead and Member of the Executive Board of Microsoft Switzerland.
This is merely the first step towards automated green real estate management. Soon, BuildingMinds will expand the integration of artificial intelligence capabilities based on Microsoft technology in its products to identify solutions and CO₂ savings that were previously invisible. Solutions such as Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, for example, make it possible to automatically extract information from invoices or energy certificates and continuously expand the data pool.