The Case for a Smart-Building Stimulus
Over the past few decades, regulations and building codes generally have driven more energy efficiency and other occupant-facing benefits. For example, ASHRAE published a position document on energy efficiency in buildings in 2019, noting, “additional energy use efficiency improvements are not only achievable but often the most cost-effective strategies in both new and existing buildings to achieve a more sustainable world.” A few dozen municipalities now require larger commercial buildings to provide their Energy Star scores each year, to benchmark overall energy performance.
Moreover, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) has launched a program that funds the deployment of real-time energy monitoring solutions in buildings. The program, which is part of New York’s ambitious Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan, funds the upfront deployment and some ongoing costs for software solutions. Overall, these programs have been successful and they can provide a roadmap for other, federal government-led initiatives. Utility incentives are another source of ideas and tools that could drive smart building adoption. Regulation and policy tools focused on energy efficiency and building retrofits are not new, so a smart building stimulus would have many real world case studies and initiatives that would provide examples. 
Investing in smart technologies in buildings appears to be a winner to catalyze economic growth, respond to the pandemic, and set America up to remain a leader in building and facility technology for the future.