How to achieve ESG goals without additional investment?

Whether we like it or not, ESG (environmental, social and governance) takes more and more role in our personal and business life. Thus there are 2 options in a longer run: to adapt or… disappear. If we choose adapting (I quess we do) there appears another big question – how to achieve ESG goals?

Sure, every aspect of ESG involves several sub-aspects. So there is a need to select where to start from. I would focus on 2 ESG aspects connected to commercial buildings – energy efficiency&carbon emissons (environmental) and health&safety (social) where I have more experience.

Energy savings (and CO2 emission reduction) itself is a piece of cake – you can turn everything off and save even 100 % of energy and reduce 100 % CO2 emission as well. But of course all the people would escape from you, because it would lose all the indoor comfort and health as well. So the main question is, how to save energy and increase indoor comfort at the same time.

Case from Tallinn, Estonia

Indoor Climate complaints together with very high sustainability goals was one of the main reasons why Swedbank Estonia HQ in Tallinn was ready to start the building’s HVAC systems’ management with a new unique Artificial Intelligence based software solution, R8 Digital Operator some years ago. So Swedbank became one of 2 first clients in the world using R8 Digital Operator.

For the 1st step a full data-based HVAC-system diagnostics was completed and inspite very strong own technical team and facility management partner many more&less important faults were detected and turned into tasks.

For the next, HVAC autonomous control was added. As a results thousands of HVAC system setpoints’ changes have been made every month according to 3 main KPIs: enegry efficiency, indoor comfort and building’s techical condition.

As a result, a lot of time & human energy has been saved and thus Swedbank’s technical team has been able to focus more on issues where people need to act, leaving the rest to Artificial Intelligence. But the most important: number of complaints has been recused remarkably (unfortunately there is no statistics available but the similar project in Paris, France presented a 69 % reduction of complaints from indoor climate). May-be interesting (new?) to know that indoor climate quality can be measured by actual data as well, not just by subjective questionnaires like done mostly. The more demanding the tenants are the more important it is.

And finally – 1050 tons of CO2 emission reduction and over 130 000  eur of energy savings during 4 years. All with… zero eur Investment (sure, change of a broken pump or invalid sensor etc is not counted here)! Modern premium class buildings have everything they need in most of cases, it is just about how to increase the efficiency to the level that is available inside the systems already but can not be achieved by the automation systems with human teams only!

Sure, we have to mention about Covid19  as well. In 2020 and also in 2021 the number of Swedbank’s employees working in their Tallinn HQ offices has decreased strongly. And this has reduced the amount of free heat (heat from humans and computers) – more heating needed for colder periods and less cooling needed for warmer periods. Also, ventilation units have been turned on not just for working hours but for much longer also including the weekends to minimize the Covid19 risks. REHVA Covid19 Guidance is strongly followed in the Swedbank HQ in Tallinn, Estonia.

And finally – if you have an interest about some similar projects with shopping malls, feel free to contact the author.


The writer Imre-Gustav Vellamaa is a Member of the Management Board of the PropTech company R8 Technologies.

R8 Technologies was the 1st proptech company in the EU certified by the Swiss PropTech Academy Association in 2021.








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