Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#ALGORITHMS: "Smarter Building Management Cuts Costs"

Tulane University’s Richardson Memorial Hall is being turned into a "smarter building living laboratory" for its architecture students. (Source: IBM)

Green buildings are not confined to new construction anymore. IBM recently unveiled its Intelligent Building Management software that applies analytics and automation algorithms to make any building new or old 'green.'

Aiming for smarter building management, IBM Intelligent Building Management software can cut power use by up to 40 percent as well as reduce buildings' maintenance costs by as much as 30 percent.

According to IDC Energy Insights, the global Smart Building market was over $3 billion in 2010 and will grow to over $10 billion by 2015. And no wonder, since buildings consume a third of the world's energy today and urban growth is driving this demand higher as an estimated 1 million people around the world move into cities each week.

IBM estimates that as much as 50 percent of the energy and water used in existing buildings today is wasted, and that by 2025, buildings will be the largest consumer of global energy, surpassing the transportation and manufacturing industries combined. As a result, analysts claim that energy conservation has become the No. 1 priority worldwide for cities, universities, corporations, hospitals and factories.
New buildings, of course, can design-in conservation methodologies, but even legacy buildings can benefit from the application of smart analytics by virtue of the multitude of sensors and building control systems that have already been installed there by companies like Johnson Controls and Schneider Electric. As a result, most buildings already have access to a constant flow of data on lighting, heating, air conditioning, manufacturing, and computer use. By harvesting the data from these sensors, IBM's Intelligent Building Management software aims to make any building greener.

According to David Bartlett, vice president, IBM Smarter Buildings, organizations seeking to optimize their energy use, can make use of its Intelligent Building Management software to "listen to and make sense of a building's operations, by applying a real-time, analytic approach."

To prove its point, IBM recently released statistics showing that its own Rochester, Minn., campus--consisting of 3 million square feet and 35 interconnected buildings--was able to reap an 8 percent energy savings by virtue of following the suggestions made by its Intelligent Building Management analytics.
Independent testing is also ongoing at Tulane University (New Orleans) where the Intelligent Building Management software is being applied to its century-old Richardson Memorial Hall, which is being turned into a "smarter building living laboratory" for its architecture students.

"We are particularly inspired by the melding of environmental sustainability and technology innovation," said Kenneth Schwartz, dean of Tulane’s School of Architecture.

As a test bed for a new generation of architects, Tulane will be using IBM's Intelligent Building Management algorithms to provide a "holistic efficiency" approach that monitors air temperature, humidity, water temperature and other parameters to minimize the consumption of natural resources without affecting the quality of comfort in the rooms.

All the gathered data is analyzed and the results are fed to a dashboard where operators can drill down into details as well as scale out to see enterprisewide metrics. Analytical rules detect anomalies in usage, such as when the energy profile of an air-handling unit deviates from normal trends, as well as pinpoint necessary repairs. As a result, the maintenance team can work in "just-in-time" predictive-maintenance mode, sending a qualified mechanic armed with the right replacement before it
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