IBM, Carnegie Mellon University partner on smart building tech

IBM, Carnegie Mellon partner on smart building analytics

Carnegie Mellon University recently partnered with IBM to pioneer use of a new cloud-based analytics system for reducing energy and facility operating costs.

CMU’s Pittsburgh campus will use IBM Building Management Center technology, delivered  via the IBM SoftLayer cloud, to monitor thousands of data points from building automation and control systems. The system, prebuilt and delivered as a service, is capable of diagnosing energy management problems and can “proactively trigger corrective actions,” according to the announcement.

Although elevators, HVAC, lighting and alarms constantly report data across building networks, most organizations do not use the data to monitor overall building performance or identify trends in building use. With the use of the smart building technology, the university expects to reduce energy and facility operation costs to the tune of about $2 million or 10 percent on utilities a year, the partners said.

The Smarter City management tool features a dashboard that can be tailored for specific tasks and alerts.  The dashboard also provides graphs and energy consumption levels for real-time data gathering and analysis.  

"On its own, the deployment of this technology will drive significant energy and operational savings with a very attractive return on investment,” said Donald Coffelt, associate vice president for CMU’s Facilities Management Services.

"This technology offers us important gains in initiatives related to advanced infrastructure systems research, the Pittsburgh 2030 initiative and a more proactive building and infrastructure management model," he added.

While not all of CMU’s buildings will be outfitted initially with IBM’s solution, nine will be piloted, and then the technology will be extended to 36 buildings across the campus.  The initial application of the Building Management Center will focus on HVAC systems and later will extend to lighting, water and other utilities. 

IBM said the building analysis system is the latest in a series of cloud-based Smarter Cities management centers the company plans that will include transportation, water and emergency management. They will be designed to help organizations  “begin using their own data for new insight and improved decision making." said IBM Smarter Cities general manager Michael Dixon.

"The Building Management Center is designed for both public and private sector buildings and campuses of all sizes. It delivers a new level of understanding of building assets and energy usage with unprecedented flexibility." Carnegie Mellon expects full implementation of IBM’s solution in three years.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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