By SCOTT E. DERBY, Vice President and Partner, SmartEdge, and 2016-2017 President, InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance

With a new presidential administration comes new opportunities.

President-Elect Donald Trump campaigned on the promise he will “make America great again” through a pro-business, pro-growth mentality. Whether or not you voted for him, you have to admit the country is energized. Talk of major infrastructure improvements, lower corporate taxes, and retaining U.S. employers is a welcome sign for the new-construction and renovation building trades.

Upgrades of the nation’s outdated energy infrastructure will be key to any major economic-growth plan. Simply making more coal available to our existing coal-fired power plants won’t solve the problem by itself, as many coal plants will need years of regulatory changes to occur and millions of dollars in investment. Smarter energy generation, improved distribution, and efficient usage will be required to power our economic growth. Microgrids and alternative energies will have an important role in stabilizing our utility infrastructure. Timing is critical, and even the most aggressive supply- and distribution-improvement plans will take billions of dollars to fund and years to implement, which is why I believe the smart-buildings industry has a golden opportunity to step up and seize the moment.

From smart cities to smart buildings, the Internet of Things is enabling technology to reduce the nation’s demand-side consumption and optimize building performance. As buildings and equipment become more connected, we develop an abundance of data that, when utilized properly, can produce important benefits, such as reduced energy consumption, lower operating costs, and higher people productivity. These improvements, when coupled with supply and distribution investments, will shrink the cost and turnaround time needed to support the growth we’re all hoping for.