Honeywell Predicts The Top Three Building Trends of 2024
The building industry is changing to better adapt to how people and organizations use facilities. Three mega trends – digitalization, automation and sustainability – are also changing how buildings operate.
This year, our experts expect these mega trends to drive greater cybersecurity regulations, impact how building automation products work, and buildings are serviced, and change how buildings interact with power grids. Let’s dive further into each trend:
Increasing authority and oversight in OT cybersecurity environments
As more building systems are digitalized, it means the need to protect those operational technology environments from potential cyber threats also increases. In 2021, the number of publicly reported OT-related cybersecurity attacks grew 140% over the previous year.[i] One reason for this growth is that IT and OT are often operated separately, yet OT environments should be protected with the same rigor as IT systems. Greater accountability measures, along with increased regulatory oversights, will likely drive a more holistic approach to cybersecurity to help decrease incidents. In many organizations this may mean a single owner of both the IT and OT environments to create a stronger, unified cyber posture.
Regulations in several countries, such as the SEC Mandatory Reporting in the United States, the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act in Australia, and the United Kingdom’s critical national infrastructure goal, are helping to drive this critical change to how cybersecurity is managed.
Adjusting how technology is designed and deployed due to the skilled labor shortage
The shortage of skilled workers in the building industry means we will see a shift in the way buildings are managed and maintained. From March 2020 to December 2021, the number of vacancies in skilled trade industries more than doubled to four million, impacting many facilities around world. [i]
As we see buildings become increasingly automated and digitalized, the ability to leverage data from machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will enable edge devices to self-diagnose problems. Those devices will be designed to be easier install, commission and maintain, using guided work prompts and augmented reality. Additionally, more facilities will leverage remote services enabling issue resolution without the need to roll a truck and lose valuable hours of expertise to travel time.
Moving from just consuming power to being a potential source of power
Buildings use a lot of energy. In 2021, the buildings and construction sector accounted for around 37% of energy- and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and more than 34% of energy demand globally.[i] As governments, organizations and companies continue to work to reduce global carbon emissions, we will see changes in how buildings use – and potentially produce – energy.
Buildings will be increasingly more responsive with the ability to orchestrate energy demand and supply based on the cost or carbon load of electricity, forecast and reduce energy demand, and integrate with microgrids and on-site renewables. This will help manage a building’s carbon impact and help shape the future of distributed energy sources. The result: a shift towards enabling grid-interactive buildings (GEBs). This will enable buildings to work more dynamically with utilities, helping create greater resilience and even producing and selling energy back to the grids.
 McKinsey & Company, How to enhance the cybersecurity of operational technology environments, March 2023. [Accessed Dec. 11, 2023]
 People Ready, Skilled Trades Labor Scarcity: Workforce Aging as Fewer Recruits Enter Trades, July 2022. [Accessed Dec. 19, 2023]
 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction. [Accessed 6 December 2022]