Scope 3 emissions propel tenants into the building data big picture

Stock image ex Canva for use as feature image for Wattwatchers blog series on Net Zero in buildings

With the Wattwatchers team out in force for the Real Estate Innovation Festival in Sydney (23-24 October), Director of Net Zero Property James Clements highlights tenant engagement as a growing focus for energy and carbon management in the commercial and industrial built environment. A growing focus on whole-of-building performance is driving attention on Scope 3 emissions including tenancies.


Tenant engagement is a key focus for many leading property companies. 

Having happier, more engaged tenants is a great start to ensuring their ongoing participation in a building’s sustainability journey.

Plus, the growing focus on Scope 3 emissions for carbon accounting means that sub-metering for individual tenancies is increasingly being required, as well as more traditional sub-metering such as whole-of-building and whole-of-floor.

Electrification is another growing driver for tenant engagement, including the complexities of providing for electric vehicle (EV) charging in multi-tenanted buildings and common property areas such as space for parking.

Positive influence

It’s no surprise, therefore, that providing tenants with energy and carbon management solution systems that they can use themselves, and benefit from in their own right, can be a strong positive influence.

Tenants are likely to have both technical and non-technical users.

Traditional metering and monitoring systems often cater for technical users with no regard for non-technical users, who just want something simple.

Feature checklist

Look for these things to support better engagement:

  1. Real-time mobile app for non-technical users that, as a base, allows tracking against a simple budget, and a real-time understanding of solar and load.
  2. The ability to share data without logging into the system either via push reports, or live pages that don’t require login.
  3. The ability to publish live data to displays in the premises.
  4. Rich data that can support deeper technical engagement to evaluate solar feasibility, examine power quality and more.

Data is key

Data to support tenant engagement is becoming more important in property strategies, and real-time data is valuable to support feedback to tenants in mobile applications or onsite displays.

Solutions for Scope 3 tenant emissions related to electricity need to be commercially viable at small scale and large.

A good starting point is a cost effective IoT solution that can be deployed wirelessly, without reliance on local communications networks, or hubs, and that can deliver accurate and complete data. By reducing hardware and installation complexity, cost is minimised too.

Get insights for stakeholders

Beyond tenants, there often are multiple stakeholders in a building’s performance.

Select technologies that give the best chance of the system being used by the many stakeholders involved in owning, operating and occupying today’s buildings.

It’s unlikely there’s one system that is used by all stakeholders. So, in practice, this means having good off-the-shelf software options that deliver insights, and have the ability to share real-time data with other platforms that are used in businesses.

Find technologies that help to surface the insights that help you. Stakeholders need to know what to take action on, and not be slammed with non-prioritised alarms.

Avoid too much ‘noise’

Web-enabled technologies, mobile functionality and cable-free wireless technologies not only make it more cost-effective to achieve or outperform sustainability targets, or meet code compliance, but can also enhance stakeholder access to data for decision-making.

We all want to avoid systems that are ‘noisy’ and that cause ‘alarm fatigue’.

In new-build, choosing technologies that cost-effectively scale from basic building code compliance (i.e. NCC Section J8/9), to higher sustainability levels (i.e. Green Star, NABERS, GRESB) is important. 

If you choose technologies that give more bang for the buck, you are setting up the path to deliver on higher levels of sustainability compliance.

Having a fast-to-deploy technology, such as IoT and Cloud-based solutions, can open up new opportunities, including streamlining the retrofitting of a metering and EMS system to a building, where traditional systems are outrageously expensive.

Trust and transparency

In the case of embedded networks and behind-the-utility-meter solar sharing, building and maintaining trust between the owners/operators, and the tenants/customers who are using the electricity, is crucial.

Having accurate data in real-time that acts as a shared ‘source of truth’ for tracking electricity usage, generation sources and transactions supports transparency for all parties.

This in turn can help to build trust, over time, in the system and between the parties.

Having the right data also makes the impact of investments in energy and its management transparent, such as savings from efficiency and/or solar, which helps to make the value ‘real’.

Wattwatchers MyEnergy app screenshots array for Wattwatchers blog post

Wattwatchers” MyEnergy app with ‘Flow’ features