Archive for category Smart Building

IFMA Releases Sustainability Guide and Carbon Footprint Measuring Guidelines for Buildings

IFMA (International Facility Management Association)  the leading association for facility managers released a Sustainability Guide and Measuring Guidelines for determining a buildings footprint.  Buildings which account for around 40% of energy usage are perhaps the biggest consumers of fossil fuels and producers of carbon.  In order to understand how buildings are consuming energy, creating carbon and determining ways to manage  and reduce it IFMA published the guide and it is available for free.

According to the guide and referencing a  report from Groom Energy Solutions and Pure Strategies highlights the top five drivers that motivate a business to track and report carbon:

  1. Improved company/brand image
  2. Requests from top customer
  3. Investor pressure
  4. GHG regulation
  5. Cost savings

(Groom Energy Solutions 2010)

While surprising to me that cost savings is at #5 I think as more and more positive ROI cases are published people will realize that a path to sustainability brings more profits due to reduced operating costs.  Looks to me though that the role of the FM is going to get more glamorous, and those skilled in this art should be in high demand.


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RCx projected to have an 83% Annual Growth Rate the next 4 years: What?! Commercial Building Retro Commissioning (RCx)

So according to Pike Research, yes “Commercial Building Retro-Commissioning Revenue Could Surpass $1.8 Billion in the United States by 2014” So that’s a mouthful.  Retro-Commisoning, also dubbed RCx, why? I don’t know, looks cool, but RCx simply ” is a process that seeks to improve how building equipment and systems function together. ”   Why not say that, well, see cool comment earlier.  But according to Evan Mills. 2009. “Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse-gas Emissions” and thier report which “provides the world’s largest database of commissioning case studies for new and existing buildings.”

The results demonstrate that commissioning is arguably the single-most cost-effective strategy for reducing energy, costs, and greenhouse-gas emissions in buildings today.


Who stands to benefit from retro-commissioning? according to EnergyStar, “Building owners, managers, staff, and tenants all stand to gain from the retrocommissioning process. It can lower building operating costs by reducing demand, energy consumption, and time spent by management or staff responding to complaints. It can also increase equipment life and improve tenant satisfaction by increasing the comfort and safety of occupants.”

And if this RCx did not have enough addictive properties:

  • Median commissioning costs: $0.30 and $1.16 per square foot for existing buildings and new construction, respectively (and 0.4% of total construction costs for new buildings)
  • Median whole-building energy savings: 16% and 13%
  • Median payback times: 1.1 and 4.2 years
  • Median benefit-cost ratios: 4.5 and 1.1
  • Cash-on-cash returns: 91% and 23%
  • Very considerable reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions were achieved, at a negative cost of -$110 and -$25/tonne CO2-equivalent.

So where to start?  Well like a lot of trends California is a good place, and their Commissioning Collaborative Handbook.  And this thing is such a mouthful I’ll need to further elaborate in future posts after I can digest this RCx meal.


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Cisco BIM : Building Information Management : Smart City

“The city is built from the ground up with the fabric of using technology,” reports Roger Cheng in the Wall Street Journal Today about Cisco’s efforts in Incheon, Korea.  It was also reported in Fast Company back in May However, beyond enabling cities with Cisco branded gear, Flip Video Cameras, On-Line meeting via Web Ex, networking and storage:

“the project is Cisco’s most ambitious push to get into the business of building ‘smart cities’ a market that the company expects could be worth over $12 billion in three years.’   ‘The core concept is of a connected city with a very big data center, which is the brains of the city,’ said T.Y. Lau, an analyst at research firm Canalysis.

Both articles paint the Smart City concept in broad strokes and even looking at a white paper/strategy doc from Cisco themselves provides no more insight than “Cisco’s Cool! and so are Smart Cities.” In fact,  the paper itself begs the question, who the hell is in charge of the Cisco Marketing and/or Corporate Communication department.   Ummn, I’m the mayor of a city and your telling me that, ‘Convergence acts as a disrupting agent for traditional site and building designs, uses, and operations, helping transform physical space into service offerings.’ Like sign me up.

Sadly, though, I get it and I’ve mentioned it before, the building is the operating system and when you have it digitally there is an abundance of ways you can make it run smarter, more efficiently, greener and save you money.  For example, motion sensors can determine the relative population of any one floor, room, etc, turning on/off lights adjusting HVAC loads in real time. Or determining at any one time that only 60% of your employees are in the office, allowing you reduce the square footage you lease, however your flexible ‘smart’ work space allows an employee anywhere to sit down and have their desktop, files, phone extension, etc. ported to whatever cubicle, workstation, desk, nook and cranny they happen to be in at the moment.  Okay, that’s cool, so say that.

In 2009 this article in Green Biz showed them mostly in their wheelhouse and partnering with IBM.

Cisco and IBM will help develop an energy management system using 500 smart meters installed in participating households, giving each a glimpse of their individual energy consumption. IBM will establish the smart energy network, while Cisco will oversee the IP-based communications infrastructure that will enable the energy system to securely communicate with household appliances in real-time. Nuon, an Amsterdam-based energy company, will also take part by creating applications for the system.

But what is most interesting to me is that in the same paper, while amusing in techno/biz jargon, has effectively the same building life cycle chart that any purveyor of software to the AECOM community is well aware of, so Cisco is ready to be your partner through Design to Demolition.  How is Cisco going to be your partner, as a vendor who wants you to spec their products into your design like a window assembly?  As a software partner?  Services partner? How far are they reaching into the $4 trillion dollar construction industry and the world’s biggest asset class, buildings?  They got the pockets and have never been afraid to buy instead of make.

Below if you care to either chuckle or possibly pass out face forward and drool on your desk is an excerpt from a Cisco Smart City Document.

Cisco® Smart+Connected Real Estate solutions converge building, safety, and communications networks onto the open Internet Protocol (IP) standard, streamlining processes by providing a single connection for building management and IT systems. Convergence acts as a disrupting agent for traditional site and building designs, uses, and operations, helping transform physical space into service offerings. The network forms the foundation for an intelligent building infrastructure that adds value to every kind of real estate project.

Cisco Smart+Connected Real Estate benefits all stakeholders in the design, construction, and real estate industries as well as those using the final built environment. The network becomes an “intelligent platform” infrastructure that creates an unprecedented opportunity for improved services, enhanced processes, and cost-effective operations for everyone who uses or creates real estate.


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