Electrifying the future with newly Certified B Corporation Buildings Alive

Saving energy saves money, but it also saves the planet — and it’s how the newest member of the B Corp community in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, Buildings Alive, plans to turn the tide on climate change to create a greener world for us all. 

As the primary emitter of greenhouse gases, businesses are both uniquely culpable and well-positioned to directly address the impacts and injustices of the current climate crisis. Joining a growing number of Certified B Corporations and other businesses working with our network of B Lab and Sistema B organisations to address the current climate trajectory, Buildings Alive helps businesses cut their carbon emissions across the world.

From large office buildings to shopping malls and even laboratories, Buildings Alive shares with us how they support building owners and operators to achieve decarbonisation of electricity networks globally to limit the impacts of climate change.

Power lines during a sunset

Image by IOFOTO from Canva Pro

Congratulations on becoming part of the B Corp community! You say, pound for pound, that you’re doing more to tackle the climate crisis than just about anybody. We can’t wait to hear more about what your B Corp does.

Buildings Alive helps many of the world’s leading owners, operators and occupiers of buildings to achieve their energy and environmental efficiency goals. Our value proposition is centred on ‘results’, and we support carbon reduction and environmental programs at hundreds of large office buildings, shopping malls, academic buildings, laboratories and other complex buildings throughout Australia, North America and Europe.

Craig Roussac, Buildings Alive CEO presenting at ACEEE Summer Study

Image: Craig Roussac, Buildings Alive CEO presenting at ACEEE Summer Study

Why did you see B Corp certification as a key part of achieving that mission?

As a company who cares about helping owners and operators of buildings reduce their carbon emissions and cut operating costs, we are highly philosophically aligned with B Corp principles. We aim to help organisations achieve better financial performance by focusing on their environmental performance, and B Corp certification is the most rigorous and tightly-aligned independent framework that we could find to help us demonstrate to staff, customers and the broader community that we are thoroughly consistent in everything we do.

What makes your B Corp unique? Tell us some of the areas where you have the biggest impact in combating the climate crisis.

Our sophisticated machine learning technology turns complex energy performance data into simple and actionable information for building performance optimisation. Instead of wrestling with raw data, building owners and operators use our automated feedback to inform and evaluate their energy-saving and decarbonisation strategies. 

Our technology doesn’t just drive cost and energy (and water) savings, it also helps buildings be more ‘grid-interactive’. 

Decarbonisation requires grid-interactive efficient buildings that adjust demand in real-time to support renewable energy generation, and avoid fossil electricity. 

Building shot take from the ground looking up

Image by Leung Cho Pan from Canva Pro

Could you tell us a little more about how that technology works?

We apply a data-driven and evidence-based approach to everything we do. Our technology measures the carbon intensity and cost of electricity supplies in real-time and forecasts, in fine detail, days in advance. Renewable energy is variable, so demand should be flexible. Our technology turns buildings into batteries that cut emissions and save money by prioritising renewable energy.

Without even realising, many of us might spend time in buildings that could be contributing to climate change. How do you see buildings being key to solving the energy crisis?

Buildings account for more than 55 per cent of global electricity consumption (residential and non-residential) and yet, unlike generators, distributors, transmission system operators, metering providers and retailers, buildings are not considered part of the electricity ‘system’, let alone the electricity ‘market’. It is little wonder, therefore, that building operators don’t think much about when they use electricity or its implications.

Yet buildings offer among the cleanest, cheapest and most powerful ‘batteries’ — and the scale of their potential contribution to decarbonisation is enormous.

Shopping mall with people

Image by Sasua Prasastika from Pexels

The group you’re now part of — a global cohort of B Corps — want to help transform our economy into one that is inclusive, sustainable, and regenerative. What business practice do you want to see become the norm?

Businesses need to be more honest and transparent when measuring environmental impacts. That is why Buildings Alive is focused on helping businesses understand their true greenhouse gas emission impacts in real-time. Net zero emissions does not equal ‘real zero’ emissions. We want to help more companies operate carbon free 24/7, without relying on emissions reduction credits and offsets, and thereby accelerate the decarbonisation of the global economy.

Was there a particular B Corp that inspired you to certify, or one that you look to for inspiration

Some of the more well-known B Corps like Patagonia have inspired our journey. Increasingly, we come across smaller suppliers who are B Corp-certified, and feel like we can strike up a bond.

Buildings Alive team on 10th birthday company retreat

Image: Buildings Alive team on 10th birthday company retreat

Do you have any tips for aspiring B Corps about the certification process?

The certification process is thorough and holistic. Be organised, patient, and diligent. 

As a business aspiring to become a B Corp, you have to think about more than just yourself. Specifically, you need to be able to outline how you consider the impact of your decisions on all stakeholders. If you can do all of that, the process becomes much easier. Also, the online tracking system is very helpful — so you can rely on that a lot to help manage your progress.

A big thank you and congratulations to the team at Buildings Alive on their recent B Corp certification. To find out more about their work, please visit: buildingsalive.com/

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