2023’s 'Year of Efficiency' to ignite a lasting movement

September 25, 2023

Since Mark Zuckerberg branded 2023 as Meta’s “Year of Efficiency,” other tech pioneers and visionaries have followed suit. CEOs and leaders across industries are placing renewed emphasis on productivity through streamlined workflows that leverage the power of AI and other cutting-edge technology.

The phrase “Year of Efficiency” is a catchy one, setting the tone for a transformative era in which re-engineering, reimagining, and redefining business as usual is the call of the day. Doing more with less has become more than an operational objective; it’s become a mandate. 

While Zuckerberg and other tech giants may be focused on bolstering efficiency through workforce adjustments, we propose a redefinition for the built environment—a shift toward an ecosystem where efficiency is synonymous with innovation and sustainability.

The transformative power of efficiency

Emphasising a Year of Efficiency is the perfect opportunity to redefine how we operate the built environment. As Hubtek’s CEO Ricardo Gonzalez put it, “2023 is a year to focus, re-engineer, break, fix, and ultimately become more efficient in doing more with less.” This may sound like tech-speak, but the sentiment has highly practical implications for building owners and operators. 

In many ways, building operations have never been more complex. Upheaval in global commercial real estate markets, rising energy costs, supply chain disruption, and pressure to meet Net Zero targets have presented a challenging backdrop for property owners. These challenges aren’t going away; they must be addressed in a way that keeps buildings competitive while satisfying investors.

This is the transformative power of efficiency in 2023. Using data analytics to optimise performance can drive efficiencies at every level, from energy consumption to stakeholder collaboration, giving building owners the best opportunity to de-risk their investments and drive sustainability agendas forward.

Research bears out the importance of operating at peak efficiency. According to Fast Company, the average organisation loses more than 25% of its productive power to “organisational drag,” or processes that waste time. Translated into revenue, this leads to 20-30% in revenue lost each year to inefficient processes and systems. Similar figures have specifically been shown to apply to the built environment; according to Energy Star, office buildings waste up to one-third of the energy they consume. 

Put simply, inefficient organisations will struggle to compete in a fast-paced, streamlined future. Here are the essential practices building owners and property managers should adopt to transform this and forthcoming years into their own Years of Efficiency.

Leveraging tech for seamless workflows

It’s difficult to quantify how much time is lost to process inefficiency. For example, let’s imagine that a building’s fault detection process is vague, and alarm fatigue has overwhelmed a Facilities Manager and slowed the investigation process. Identifying the root cause, triaging the issue, and liaising with appropriate contractors might take days, weeks, or even months. Input from multiple contractors might be required for a resolution, necessitating hours of back-and-forth communication via emails, texts, and phone calls—not to mention time spent fielding tenant complaints.

Building analytics platforms like CIM’s PEAK aim to remove the guesswork, manual diagnosis, and back-and-forth from the above scenario. PEAK brings a new level of efficiency to the table by supercharging workflows, increasing accountability and drawing attention exactly where it belongs, quickly.

In contrast to traditional methods, which are often time-consuming and taxing on resources, efficiency requires a shift toward systems that minimise waste in all forms. PEAK facilitates the smooth coordination, real-time updates, and collaborative problem-solving that are indispensable for building owners looking to optimise their operations. 

As Burlington’s success story demonstrates, the platform saves time by identifying the root cause of a fault, recommending a solution, and assigning it to the right person—all while automatically prioritising the most critical issues. Team members can collaborate in real-time to resolve issues quickly and effectively.

Harnessing data-driven maintenance

According to a study by IBM, 30% of maintenance activities are completed too frequently. The same study also found that “as much as half of every dollar you spend on preventative maintenance is wasted.” It doesn’t take an efficiency expert to see the opportunity to prevent this massive outflow of time and energy.

For the built environment, a Year of Efficiency means moving away from routine-based maintenance schedules and towards a data-centric approach. Data-driven maintenance (DDM) is the integration of advanced analytics into the realm of property maintenance. 

Unlike traditional strategies, which rely heavily on preset schedules or reactionary measures, DDM employs continuous data collection and analysis to guide maintenance decisions. DA19 summarises the workflow of this smarter form of maintenance as:

“analytics pulled from big data, relayed by wireless sensor networks, analysed by cloud-based algorithms and visualised on mobile computing devices” which is effectively “changing maintenance, disrupting traditional practices and creating new value opportunities.”

By harnessing the transformative power of analytics, DDM delivers maintenance efforts that are targeted and efficient, enabling more focused schedules, optimised resource use, reduced downtime and increased equipment lifecycle.

Data-driven maintenance has been proven to cut planned maintenance costs by at least 20%, streamlining contracts and ensuring that resources are allocated where they are needed most.

Elevating energy efficiency through AFDD

Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics (AFDD) is a guiding beacon in the ongoing quest for energy efficiency. Far more than a flashy piece of tech, it’s a strategy that helps FMs identify and rectify energy drifts that would otherwise lead to substantial energy wastage. Before deploying PEAK, a typical client has experienced 10-30% of wasted energy via energy drift—most of which is avoidable with AFDD.

At one Grade A office asset in Glasgow, PEAK alerted the FM to the overnight operation of several WC extract fans and fan coil units (FCUs). Upon investigation, the FM found several time zones incorrectly set in the BMS schedules. Some FCUs ran 24 hours at a time and even during the weekend, impacting the WC extract fans and two main AHUs. After PEAK flagged the issue, all time zones could be promptly corrected to regular operating hours, resulting in a 33% drop in the plant’s overall energy usage. At another location, PEAK picked up a spike in water consumption outside of trading hours, triggering an alert where the building’s dedicated monitoring system for water management had entirely missed the issue.

Over time, early resolution of plant and equipment faults can reduce overall energy consumption by upwards of 15%, extending equipment life cycle by an average of two years.

Boosting productivity from every angle

In our view, the Year of Efficiency is also the Year of Empowerment for operations teams. With tools at a team’s disposal to clearly identify the issues and next steps requiring attention, innovation thrives and efficiency becomes a natural outcome.  

At Charter Hall, PEAK promoted portfolio-wide efficiency despite dramatically fluctuating occupancy levels during 2020-2021. Their network of FMs leveraged the platform to optimise operating schedules, adjust minimum CO2 setpoints, limit chiller capacity, increase fresh air ventilation, trim car park exhaust fan schedules, and actively monitor critical equipment.

Charter Hall’s portfolio has seen a 19% drop in electricity consumption since 2019—despite 2022’s return to the office—without compromising thermal comfort scores.


As Net Zero targets loom on the near horizon and commercial real estate encounters challenging headwinds, we see 2023 as the start of an era where efficiency is the new benchmark. In the built environment, this translates to a renewed focus on leveraging technology, harnessing data, and fostering collaboration at every level.

Ready to make 2023 your Year of Efficiency? Click here to learn how CIM can help.

David Walsh
September 25, 2023