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Your Buildings Are Talking. Are You Listening?
Author: Dan Probst, Chairman of Energy & Sustainability Services, JLL

One of the most important trends in commercial building management today is using technology to continually monitor and adjust building systems to optimize performance. As building equipment is continually going out of calibration, "energy drift" results in an average energy loss of 17 percent over two years, according to David Wolins, CEO of Scientific Conservation.

The traditional solution has been retro-commissioning. In this case, outside engineers come into a building to "re-tune" it to maximize performance. A 2004 study performed by the U.S. Department of Energy found that this type of commissioning for existing buildings resulted in average energy savings of 15 percent and a payback period of roughly eight months. That equates to a savings of about 18 cents per square foot.

Unfortunately, the day the retro-commissioning is completed, the building begins going back out of calibration and these savings begin to evaporate. Today's buildings are very complex, employing highly inter-dependent systems with sophisticated controls. Even small problems or operational variances can escalate into large performance issues. Racing to fix small problems one-at-a-time, building engineering staff cannot see the forest for the trees.

Continuous, Comprehensive Building Commissioning

However, a convergence of sensor information, wireless communication and "smart" building software is redefining how we manage buildings. These systems take in massive amounts of information from sensor "points" in the operating equipment; it's continuous and comprehensive.

With JLL's smart building technology system, IntelliCommand™, data is sent through the Cloud to a Global Command Center that applies advanced intelligence and algorithms to determine the correct adjustments to achieve optimal building performance. Additionally, IntelliCommand translates the entire process into specific instructions for the building staff, such as "adjust this damper," "clean this coil" or "correct this setpoint."

JLL is applying this smart building technology to more than 15 million square feet of space, and it is reducing energy consumption by an average of 15 percent almost immediately. Rather than installing new chillers, lighting or other equipment, the system makes what a building already has in place simply run more efficiently.

One of the biggest advantages of IntelliCommand's ability to constantly monitor equipment throughout a building is discovering equipment failures before they occur. The system picks up on very slight alterations in equipment operations, allowing building engineering teams to take the necessary actions preemptively. In certain cases, these solutions also allow for remote testing of equipment, creating an even more complete profile of how building systems are operating. While this is extremely efficient for any building, it's critical for data centers and trading floors where shutdowns could have catastrophic financial consequences.

The Human Touch

Despite the substantial developments in building technology today, there is still an important place for human oversight and involvement. While IntelliCommand's Global Command Center runs analytics 24x7, the building managers and engineers staffed at the Center watch building trends for larger issues and detect misnomers. The technology enables a building engineering team to discuss a particular issue, suggest courses of action, and monitor the results and provide further direction to the on-site team. The combination of technology and human expertise gives these systems an important extra dimension.

More Efficient Resource Management

As building managers work to control costs, managing the resources needed to address performance issues becomes increasingly important. Consider a rooftop air conditioning unit that requires attention: an engineer needs to inspect the equipment, determine the root cause of the malfunction, get the correct parts, return to the equipment site, fix it, and finally monitor its performance. The engineering team might even need to go back to the equipment site several times to make ongoing adjustments.

With smart building technology like IntelliCommand, the building engineer arrives at the equipment site already knowing what is wrong and prepared with the necessary replacement part(s). When the engineer leaves, IntelliCommand provides ongoing monitoring, even suggesting any adjustments that may increase efficiencies. Multiply this throughout a building and the increase in staff efficiency becomes powerful.

With these operational efficiencies added to the subsequent energy savings, smart building technology typically pays for itself within one or two years, if not sooner. Procter & Gamble's investment in IntelliCommand, for example, generated a positive return on investment in just three months.

The Future is Here. The Future is Now.

Smart building technology gives real estate teams x-ray vision into all of their systems as well as an enormous computer that ensures they all run at maximum efficiency. It may sound a little like science fiction, but it is here today. And, most importantly, it's increasing the triple bottom line for facility managers and investors around the world.

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2014 Summit Highlights: Keynote Luncheon, Proctor & Gamble Embraces Smart Tech

Proctor & Gamble and Jones Lang LaSalle showcase a major pilot program featuring a real-time, cloud-based building management platform which paid for itself through energy savings in only three months! On its quest to create value for consumers, customers and shareholders, Proctor & Gamble set aggressive, data-driven efficiency, sustainability and profitability goals to achieve balanced and sustainable growth. They recognized that sophisticated information management strategies must be put into place to drive productivity and performance. Dan Probst, Chairman Energy and Sustainability Services from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), will describe how P&G applied JLL's smart-building technology, IntelliCommand to harness big data about building performance in order to inform real estate decisions in real-time and advance their joint integrated IT vision. Learn how smart tech is helping P&G achieve their goal of reducing energy usage 20% by 2020.

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Smart Buildings in Action: Procter & Gamble's Portfolio

After committing to the departmental goal of reducing energy usage by 20 percent by 2020, P&G's Global Business Services looked to every aspect of its operations for efficiency improvements. Working as P&G's outsourced real estate services provider, JLL proposed that P&G become the first company to pilot JLL's new smart building management platform, IntelliCommand. The premise was that IntelliCommand's combination of cloud-based, smart-building management technology and JLL's team of facilities management professionals would provide P&G with around-the-clock, real-time facilities management.

P&G deployed IntelliCommand across 12 buildings totaling 3.2 million square feet of space in diverse facilities. The pilot sites included P&G's global headquarters campus in Cincinnati; its global healthcare headquarters facilities, including numerous laboratories; a key technical center; and a major mixed-use complex including offices and R&D operations.

With IntelliCommand, building managers were able to identify problems that manual inspections could not detect. For example, IntelliCommand's data analytics flagged a temperature anomaly indicating that a heater was operating when not needed. Another anomaly revealed room-to-room temperature differences that indicated malfunctioning dampers, triggering unnecessary air conditioning, and, elsewhere, thermostat default settings that needed adjustment.

As P&G learned, one advantage of IntelliCommand is that its ability to fine-tune building performance exceeds human capabilities. Even in a facility spanning more than 1 million square feet across eight wings, IntelliCommand pinpointed miscues. For instance, IntelliCommand achieved 8 percent energy savings simply by reducing HVAC activity on nights, weekends and holidays. At a P&G technical facility, IntelliCommand's fault detection function enabled staff to identify and repair several recurring problems. Using these findings, the facilities team analyzed comparable data across the entire 12-building pilot portfolio and made strategic adjustments across all properties.

Within one year, P&G reduced the pilot facilities' energy costs by 8 to 13 percent, eliminating 4.4 million kW of energy usage simply by optimizing building processes. These energy efficiencies lead IntelliCommand in P&G's portfolio to win the 2014 "Project of the Year" award from Environmental Leader.

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About Our Sponsor: The hottest trend in managing buildings today is applying smart technology to make buildings systems run more efficiently, be more sustainable, increase productivity, enhance tenant satisfaction, and improve asset economics. JLL's IntelliCommand Smart Building Technology is meeting the demand for the real op-ex advantage through smarter investments by providing 24/7 real-time monitoring and optimization of facilities.

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