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Impulse #3: Thinking buildings into the future

25 March 2021

Can you remember your career aspiration when you were a child or a teenager? My parents had a classic heating and plumbing business where I helped out at an early age. But it wasn't the technology that fascinated me at first, it was buildings and structures themselves. My dream for many years was to become a project developer. But as life goes, I decided to study supply engineering after all (I'm sure many of you are familiar with such decision-making processes as well). The enthusiasm for buildings, their construction and their equipment has remained – and even grown to this day. I'm struck by how much buildings have changed in the last decades. Especially how smart and intelligent they have become.

Networked competence in smart buildings

Of course, this development not only affects our networked home, where the voice assistant wakes us up in the morning, the robot vacuum cleaner automatically ensures cleanliness during the day, and the intelligent heating control system has already regulated the temperature to a comfortable level by the time we get home from work in the evening. The Internet of Things has long since made it possible to network all systems, machines and systems - from lighting and the alarm system to heating and cooling to energy and load management - even in large utility buildings, or better smart buildings. And: The benefits of holistically connected, intelligent buildings are even greater than in the private sector. Smart Buildings increase the comfort of their users: save energy and reduce costs. As a result, they offer great potential for efficiency gains in building management and energy management.

Bring a little bit of future to every building we serve today: This is our ambition at ENGIE Deutschland.

About a building with charisma

Therefore, dear readers, it will hardly surprise you that in the past few months I have been intensively following a project that the ENGIE Deutschland team is implementing for the project developer EDGE and the real estate investment manager Nuveen Real Estate: We have recently become responsible for the facility management in the office building EDGE Grand Central. The approximately 22,800 square meter property in Berlin-Mitte is the first project of the client EDGE in Germany and is regarded as one of the most innovative and intelligent office buildings in Germany. Everything and everyone is connected there, the usage needs are always in focus. The EDGE Grand Central thus also places greater demands on facility management. It is true that the hardware in this smart building differs little from the hardware in a conventional property, from the heating system to the refrigeration technology to the safety equipment. However - and this is completely new on this scale - there is also a need for IT and software expertise, not to mention sensor technology expertise. These areas of expertise are brought together by the ENGIE experts on site in order to achieve the optimal result for the building together with our customer. I am very proud of the work the colleagues are doing here! A really great and exciting project which I think is a blueprint for the entire facility management industry.

The building of the future takes shape

Dear readers, I have already mentioned that in the EDGE Grand Central everything is geared to the needs of the users. This means that the building also sets new standards in terms of health and sustainability. These aspects are becoming increasingly important for the user community. The EDGE Grand Central is the first building in Germany to be pre-certified for its contribution to well-being and health with the "WELL Building Standard Gold" and for its ecological construction and energy efficiency with the highest rating level "Platinum" by the . I find that's impressive and fits perfectly with our zero-carbon strategy, within the framework of which we support our customers in their path to climate neutrality.

Smart, sustainable and economical: We are practicing the future!

Nevertheless, a smart building like the EDGE Grand Central must remain marketable and economical just like any other building. This may sound obvious, but it should not be underestimated. Or in other words: The total list of all requirements for a building is getting longer and longer. It must be aesthetic, efficient, smart, sustainable, healthy and economical. As is currently the case for the EDGE Grand Central, it will soon be the new expectation for other properties. This is a demanding task, and we are happy to support any customer in fulfilling it. Bringing a piece of the future into every building that we serve today: This claim sustains us at ENGIE Deutschland, this challenge drives us every day. My team and I look forward to driving this development forward and making the future a reality for you and with you. Because I'm sure: My enthusiasm for such projects will never end!

How do you imagine the buildings of the future? Which building fascinates you especially today – and why? I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.

Warmest regards

Manfred Schmitz
CEO ENGIE Deutschland 

About Impulse

Once a month, Manfred Schmitz, CEO of ENGIE Deutschland, shares his view on current topics in our column Impulse.

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Manfred Schmitz
Once a month, Manfred Schmitz, CEO of ENGIE Deutschland, shares his view on current topics in our column Impulse.

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