Cloud Computing: IBM`s Top 5 Predictions for Smarter Buildings for 2012

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-12-28
 
 
 

Smart Neighborhoods

Groups of buildings will mimic living systems. Neighborhoods are the building blocks of smarter cities, which are just systems of systems—water, power, transportation, etc. Like a living system in nature, they can be highly complex, especially when considering the conglomeration of infrastructure over a city's 100- to 200-year history.??íIn Washington, D.C., water pipes date back to the Civil War, for example. A neighborhood is a microcosm of the city; to make a city smarter, starting at the neighborhood level is more manageable. IBM is working in Boston's Back Bay to help the community become early adopters of smart grid technology that will electronically monitor, analyze and minimize power consumption in residential and commercial buildings—as well as of on-site solar and other clean-generation systems.

Smart Neighborhoods

X-Ray Vision

Occupants of smarter buildings will get better visibility into buildings functions, such as how much water and energy they are using. Most businesses and residents now find this out by looking in their rear-view mirror—the previous month's utility bills. With smart meters, residents and businesses are getting closer to real-time views into their actual usage. With smarter buildings technology, building managers have a cross-building view into actual performance of all systems so they can make adjustments and repairs when needed, a key step when looking at large facilities, campuses and cities.??íUsing analytics provides deeper, X-ray vision into what's happening in real time. As buildings and cities are instrumented, managers will rely more on analytics to flag outlying behavior and to recommend optimal settings for heat, water and other facility maintenance.??íPredictive maintenance will become condition-based. At its 3.2-million-square-foot Rochester, Minn., campus, IBM integrates data from more than 300,000 data points, consolidating it into a common repository for effective analytics. Through this solution, the Rochester facility cut energy use by 8 percent, on top of the 6 percent reduction already being driven through aggressive energy-improvement programs. IBM is also working with other organizations, including Bryant University, Ave Maria University, Tulane University and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, to create smarter buildings.??í

X-Ray Vision

Beyond Parking

Applications that pull data from a building and a city's "Internet of things" will proliferate, according to IBM. Parking applications like Streetline can help drivers find available parking spots, for example. But it goes beyond that. The Internet of things gives people information, the first step toward making change. Through the increasing connectivity, people can act as living sensors to provide data and feedback to make changes and create smarter cities and buildings.??íFor instance, some cities are extending that Internet of things to city services. IBM is enabling citizens' smartphones to alert cities to potholes, graffiti and water issues by taking photos and sending them to city management, where they can be prioritized and dealt with.??íCities are using geospatial intelligence to send crews with the information they need and the overview of where the projects are to map out the best driving routes. Just as smarter buildings and smarter neighborhoods are the building blocks of smarter cities, so are people.

Beyond Parking

Now Serving at the Energy Cafe

Building managers will order from a menu of energy, allowing them to choose energy by source and/or cost.??íJust as shoppers can chose which type of produce they want based on cost and source, city and building managers will be able to do the same with energy sources.??íWith smart meters, building occupants know how much energy they are using. However, organizations in the future will also be able to choose the source of their energy. If they have carbon footprint targets to meet, they can decide to get 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources like solar and wind.??íIf that gets too costly, they can shift more to natural gas.

Now Serving at the Energy Cafe

Real Estate Management Becomes a Science

A company's finance/real estate team is evolving into a smarter buildings team.??íIn the next few years, accounting changes will require all publicly traded companies to add billions in new assets to their balance sheets. As organizations begin to itemize all their property assets, they'll also look into ways to reduce costs, IBM says. What they're discovering is that by learning how their buildings are wasting energy, they are finding new ways to cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint. IBM is working with New York City to improve the energy efficiency of 4,000 buildings. The cost of energy use in city municipal buildings totals more than $800 million each year and accounts for about 64 percent of the greenhouse gas emission produced by the New York City's government operations. With IBM's carbon intelligence software, the city is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2017.

Real Estate Management Becomes a Science

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