How Smart Building Solutions Support the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investment in Sustainability

Following months of gridlock, a surprising deal was struck in the Senate to pass legislation relating to the U.S. economy, clean energy, and incentivizing green building practices. The passage of The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) marks the largest investment to combat climate change in history and comes at a time when sustainability is becoming a top criteria for commercial spaces, businesses, healthcare, schools, and other market sectors as they are facing mounting pressure to create operational efficiencies and reduce their environmental impact.

Rising Climate Change Concerns

Although concerns about climate change are not new, the recent increases in catastrophic natural disasters, rising temperatures, and growing pollution have ignited calls for action.

Last year, more than 430 natural disastrous events occurred worldwide, leading to $252.1 billion in economic losses and resulting in the death of nearly 10,500 individuals. Ranging from tropical storms, earthquakes, floods, to wildfires these disasters impacted 101 million people with the majority of financial damages occurring in the United States. Families were displaced, towns destroyed, and lives forever changed as a result. Science has been showing that many of these events have been more extreme due to rising temperatures, higher sea levels, and droughts.

Data from the 2021 Annual Climate Report confirms the past eight years have marked the eight warmest years on record with 2021 coming in sixth on the list. Rising temperatures are a driving force for rising sea levels as glaciers and ice melting at increasing rates, increasing flooding in much of the world and lost economic benefits as areas must rebuild. Without investments in clean energy and incentives for sustainable building practices, these trends will continue to grow.

Buildings are one of the largest culprits of pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. With rapid building growth and increased manufacturing, fossil fuels drove much of the pollution seen today. Not only have these negatively impacted the environment, but have also led to significant health issues for many with WHO data showing that ninety-nine percent of the world’s population is exposed to polluted air. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act provides incentives, funding, and solutions that are necessary to mitigate these issues.

What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act?

The Inflation Reduction Act includes an estimated $369 billion towards energy security and climate change. This record investment includes tax incentives for clean energy technologies, funding for research and development, tax incentives, and grant awards for pollution reduction solutions.

Appropriations in the IRA include:

  • $250 million for Greenhouse Gas Air Pollution Planning Grants.
  • $4.7 billion for Greenhouse Gas Air Pollution Implementation Grants.
  • $2.8 billion in grant awards and $200 million for technical assistance for climate resiliency and adaptation, pollution reduction, and minimizing climate related health risks.
  • $362 million for tax deductions relating to energy efficiency for commercial spaces
  • $1 billion over the next ten years for green building code grants
  • $300 million to adopt building energy codes meeting or exceeding the 2021 International Conservation Code and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019
  • $670 million for governments who adopt building codes that meet or exceed the 2021 IECC zero energy guidelines

Although much of the Inflation Reduction Act focuses on residential spaces and individual consumers, increased tax incentives and grants appeal to businesses and building owners looking to adopt more sustainable building operations and practices. These provisions in the legislation incentivize electrification and a shift away from harmful emissions. As a result, the smart buildings industry is poised to greatly benefit as commercial building operators examine ways to utilize these invectives and grant programs.

 

Impact of the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act’s investment in clean energy, sustainability, and climate preservation is a large step forward following the United States formally rejoining the Paris Climate agreement in early 2021.

The Paris Climate Agreement, adopted by nearly 200 countries worldwide aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, compared to temperatures prior to industrial growth. With a goal to be climate neutral by 2050, the agreement calls for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a goal strongly supported by the IRA.

Record climate investments in the IRA are expected to decrease greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030, putting the United States on a strong path forward to being net-zero by 2050. With growing concerns over the financial implications of climate change, the IRA is on track to reduce the social costs of climate change by nearly $2 trillion by 2050.

As many companies are considering electrification as a solution to the ultimate goal of net-zero, smart building solutions have appeared as the partner to meet the lofty goals outlined in the IRA and Paris agreement.

 

How MHT and Inspextor Support Sustainability Goals

Several incentives in the IRA will encourage buildings in all sectors to adopt smart building solutions to meet sustainability goals. Turning to a trusted and tested, smart building provider will be crucial to ensure the installation and operation of this technology is reliable and intuitive. MHT’s Inspextor platform, a PoE smart building hardware and software solution, provide this peace of mind.

Backed by more than a decade of experience designing lighting and as a leader in the PoE lighting space, Inspextor is trusted by companies across a variety of sectors including commercial, healthcare, education, and senior living spaces.

State of the art fixtures and software backed by patented technology, Inspextor is a smart, scalable, and flexible solution that uses Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) lighting and technology to help organizations reach their energy and sustainability goals. PoE solutions have produced trusted cost-effective results for several years. This low voltage, sustainable option creates several benefits and efficiencies compared to traditional line voltage. With a safer and less expensive installation process, PoE can be implemented quickly without concerns of injury and prolonged project timelines. The integration capabilities of PoE are vast and include the ability to communicate with various building systems including shades and HVAC. These integrations work in conjunction with several features including space utilization, daylight harvesting, and real time monitoring of temperature, power, and occupancy help buildings eliminate the inefficacies that lead to excessive energy usage, wasted power, and unnecessary expenses.

The Inspextor platform allows for a level of customization not available with traditional building management systems and the flexibility to set lighting policies, color tune lighting, and be alerted to security breaches. Smarter building management with Inspextor incorporates several building systems under one controlling platform including temperature, lighting, occupancy, and heating and cooling to optimize energy usage and provide insight into improving not only the environment as a whole but the environment for building occupants. Utilizing this technology supports the adoption of green building codes, improves the health of occupants, and increases energy efficiencies so buildings can take advantage of the tax incentives and grants included in the IRA.

Sustainability is driven by data. With Inspextor, building owners and operators have the technology and data they need to make smarter building decisions to meet the sustainability and energy goals encouraged by the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.