After many years on developerWorks I am moving my blog to A Smarter Planet Blog.
Please follow me there which, in addition to my posts, you can view others that are writing about smarter planet initiatives. Very exciting!
I have a new post this morning entitled ' Crossing the Sustainability Chasm' Please click on this link to view.
After many years on developerWorks I am moving my blog to A Smarter Planet Blog.
Please follow me there which, in addition to my posts, you can view others that are writing about smarter planet initiatives. Very exciting!
Thanks and see you there!!!
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ Tags:  waste energy sustainability smarter buildings water planet 1 Comment 3,107 Visits
Last week, after a less than satisfying shower from a hotel showerhead fitted with too many flow restrictors, I watched a breaking story about a water main rupture that sent tens of thousands of gallons across a Bronx neighborhood affecting over 500 homes and businesses. According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Cas Holloway, there was still no explanation for the break. This is an event that happens too often. Recent advances in linear asset sensor technology can detect pipe deterioration from variances in vibration in the pressurized pipes. Deployment of these wireless sensors coupled with real time monitoring can help us predict and prevent such massive failures.
Today we have a huge opportunity to apply IT and
communication technology to provide deeper insight on how we manage and
maintain energy and water. In the US alone there are
over 5 million buildings that have a combined energy cost of over 200 billion
and account for over 40% of the country’s green house gas emissions. It has
been estimated 30-50% of that energy and water is used inefficiently or wasted.
Focusing solely on alternative energy sources like solar, wind, or geothermal or energy intensive desalination of water as the answer is not only avoiding the root problem but is finding new ways to feed inefficient practices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for alternative renewable energy or new breakthroughs in water sourcing, but my point is we should first take a deep look at how we waste energy and water to insure we are being as efficient as possible. Today, there is a huge opportunity to eliminate wasteful practices while making our utilities more efficient.
IBM is a good example of many companies today that have been searching relentlessly for efficiency gains. In just the last 2-3 years, IBM was able to discover ways to conserve 523,000 megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power 47,000 average U.S. homes for a year! And we believe we can eliminate as much as 1.1 million megawatt hours of energy consumption by the end of 2012. See press release.
IBM started back in the 90’s with lighting, windows, and
insulation. (for eg: CFLs, efficient
windows, proper sealing and insulation) We
focused on space management, open offices, telecommuting, and teleconferencing
as well as waste management, supply chain management, and e-waste management.
Fast forward back to 2011 and, if you have done the
obvious, where do you go for the next turn of the crank? Enter the world of IBM Smarter Planet. IBM
is deploying its Smarter Building technologies
to drive energy efficiency to the next
level across IBM’s global portfolio of buildings. Though the use of data
monitoring and analytics, we are leveraging “plug-in” analytics to collect
sensor and operating data for analyzing both individual events and system
trends. This information is then used to optimize building energy use. Many
other companies are also working with IBM’s Intelligent Building Management to
see what efficiencies they can gain from the more holistic building
‘whispering’ enabled by insight derived from real time monitoring of building
sensors and advanced analytics.
This represents ‘a new way to think about how we manage buildings’, according to our own site operations team who has been deploying IBM Intelligent building management. As with any transformational journey, one should start by going after the worst practices, the worst performers, and the low cost opportunities (which smart sensors and software can help you identify and prioritize. AOL Energy just published my top ten list of ways we waste energy and water in buildings. Let’s explore a couple of these in depth.
1) Simultaneous heating and cooling. For example, stores that prop their doors
open with the AC on max. This is reportedly even happening in energy challenged Tokyo this summer. Opening doors with the AC on can use as much
as 25 percent more electricity. Software can detect, alert, and report on such
conditions. In New York City this problem is so pervasive
that a law was passed to keep doors shut when the AC is on (which most shops still ignore.) Did you know that revolving doors, like those at IBM HQ and MIT, can save 85% more energy than swing doors ? Ever sit in a windowed office with the sun
streaming in? It can get very hot. Most buildings today have to cool down south
side facing space and heat interior and north side space, simultaneously. Overcooled offices even result in people
having to resort to space heaters to stay warm. Investing in passive solar
design, building orientation, landscaping, window coatings and overhangs can
help but the latest technology of thermal mapping provides greater
visualization of where hot and cold spot actually are (and why) in order to
adjust airflow for more even dissipation.
It is even difficult to take advantage of those first cool autumn days
in these beautiful glass buildings with windows that don’t open! We
have created virtual ‘green houses’ that heat up from the sun even when it is
cool outside and thus need AC because there is no mechanism in place to bring
in the outside air. IBM implemented 16 free air cooling projects, which utilize
the temperature of the outside air rather than chiller systems to cool water,
saving more than 16,000 MWh of electricity use. Ok, now that we have shut the doors and
windows (or virtually ‘opened’ windows on a cool day) let’s look at some more hidden and pervasive reasons
for simultaneous heating and cooling that can be detected and prevented by
IBM’s Intelligent Building Management.
These include dampers left open or out of adjustment, sensors out of
adjustment, units inadvertently left in override, independent uncoordinated
thermostats, discharge set points not properly adjusted for seasonal shifts, or
just incorrectly maintained equipment. Real time monitoring for these
conditions and applying rule based management systems have already resulted in significant efficiency gains in one of our biggest energy using plants. And we expect the maintenance bill to
also drop by the same percentage which is an added bonus.
2) Heating, cooling, and lighting unoccupied or
underutilized space. Motion detection,
timers, carbon dioxide monitoring, RFID, and security scanners are technologies
that can be leveraged more intelligently to match lighting and temperature with
the actual presence and concentration of humans. HVAC and lighting systems are
often found running beyond the scheduled operating hours like when someone manually
overrides set points or adjusts the schedule and doesn't restore it back to the
normal operating schedule. Set points are not always adjusted as the mission of
the building changes. Software that can perform near real time analytical forecasting
of use can help manage proactively instead of reactively and drive real
savings. This includes improving your
ratio of people to space.
3) Lighting. Many
spaces have all the lights on during the day even when the sunlight is more
than sufficient for the task. Ambient
lighting by harvesting daylight should be tied to the task of each particular workplace
and dynamically adjusted with control systems. Look for areas where you can
decrease lighting without compromising performance and consider task specific
lighting instead of lighting up an entire room or space. It is interesting to
note that today there is nearly 400 times as much artificial lighting in buildings than there was a century ago—and research is showing that the
standards of even ten (10) years ago put more light than we need in offices.
4) Water. Sprinklers that use ‘dumb’ timers turn on while it is raining or when the sun is directly overhead and the evaporation rate is at a high point of the day. Potable water is used for flushing toilets and watering landscapes. Most people think of water and energy as separate but in fact they are inextricably linked. The California Energy Commission has documented that 19% of the state’s electric energy load is related to the pumping, treatment and distribution of drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater. On the other hand hydroelectric power, a major source of California's electricity, provides substantially less than 19% percent of the state’s electricity. So the state’s 400 hydro electric plants (14,000 MW) are insufficient to transport water to and from the state’s cities and buildings. Not even a wash! Again we need to take a closer look at how we are using water. Studies show that we easily waste as much as 50% of the water in buildings. Water efficiency programs can vastly reduce the use of energy to pump, treat, and pressurize water and increasing water efficiency can forestall the need for energy required for intensive new water supply development.
Rain water (naturally distilled, evaporated, and condensed) is mostly lost on buildings and their impervious parking lots. This wash-off transports fertilizer, oil, and other contaminants into our waterways. ( IBM is helping San Jose, California, monitor 30,000 storm drains that empty into 136 miles of creeks and streams.) Solutions such as pervious parking pavers and rain water collection systems are economical and a great environmental choice. In the past year IBM has built a rainwater collection system in North Carolina which generates non-potable water to be used in the facility. With the annual rainfall in Raleigh averaging around 41 inches, a 160,000 square foot roof area can collect approximately 3.5 million gallons per year which can then be used for landscaping and toilet flushing. In Burlington Vermont, IBM was able to cut the purified water bill in half with a water management initiative that includes a data-rich system for managing all of the water used in the plant. Recycling gray water for landscaping and flushing should also be part of the plan.
I have provided just a few examples of where do start leveraging technology to drive more efficient delivery and use of our precious resources. The need for efficiency is clear. By 2025, buildings will be the #1 consumer of energy. Up to 50% of energy and water in buildings are often wasted. Real estate is the 2nd largest expense on the income statement. The good news is the benefits from improving building efficiency are real. Energy usage can be reduced by up to 40% and the associated maintenance cost by 10-30%. Studies have shown that more efficient, smarter buildings have higher occupancy rates and higher productivity. The majorities of today’s workforce not only appreciates but are willing to contribute to energy and water efficiency programs. We can change by managing our buildings in a smarter way. Many of the ideas can be implemented at a very low cost with an excellent payback and return on investment. The great news is we are capturing all of these lessons and implementing them in a set of preconfigured rules in our IBM Intelligent Building Management that is now externally available. This solution takes a holistic approach always considering the interactions among all system components.
This is only a start and there is much to be done. Collaborative innovation can help us to transform smarter, quicker, and more effectively. Working together to make this happen is key.
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ Tags:  energy green met intelligent smarter bartlett tulane buildings ibm 3,630 Visits
I have always loved museums. They provide a wonderful, peaceful environment for the artwork to really speak to you. What feelings does the artwork evoke? What inspiration does it (or does it not) provide? What does each piece convey to you?
Now, let’s think about the buildings that contain the
art. How do they speak to you? Do they
contribute to your total experience in a positive way or negative way? Examples
of negative aspects certainly could be un-sustainable practices or materials,
or wasting too much energy or water, or even safety issues. Well. we
are on a mission to create smarter buildings using IT and communication technology
to help buildings transform in a more positive way.
we held the first IBM's Smarter
Buildings Forum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to announce new IBM Intelligent
Building Management that has incorporated over 2 years of development, research,
and best practices from internal and external customer pilots. Our first software solution designed for holistic
building management combines advanced analytics and automation software to
provide visibility of how buildings are operating including energy and space performance. We also highlighted three new
projects : Tulane University's School
of Architecture, IBM's campus in Minnesota and The
Metropolitan Museum of Art. For
details see museum news,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the successful installation of a new IBM wireless environmental sensor network in the buildings called Low-Power Mote that will help preserve the works of art in its world-renowned, encyclopedic collection. This technology has recently been installed and is currently being tested at The Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.
Of course you do not have to go to a
museum to see smarter buildings in action.
You can see it in IBM. From implementing this software within IBM Rochester we have already realized an additional 8 percent annual energy
savings. Our HQ building in Armonk, NY
has also become a showcase for smarter buildings.
As with any new idea or approach another logical collaborative partner is leading universities. IBM and Tulane University’s School of Architecture announced yesterday that they have also implemented IBM’s new software to aid in rebuilding its campus, which sustained $700 million of damage from Hurricane Katrina, and the community at large in more environmentally sustainable ways. Tulane’s architecture students are involved in the IBM Tulane Smarter Building project (see video) learning new techniques that will allow historic buildings to be more easily adapted for modern use.
Why is IBM focusing on making buildings more energy efficient and smarter?
Buildings consume 42 percent of all energy worldwide; energy costs represent about 30 percent of a building’s total operating cost. By 2025, buildings will be the number one consumer of energy in the world. IBM sees a tremendous opportunity to help organizations transform their building into more energy efficient structures. Smarter Buildings is easily a $3 billion extension for IBM hardware, software and services. Some analysts see the market for IT-enabled buildings automation at more than $30 billion by 2015. IBM sees sustainable buildings and enterprises as a strong market expansion for our company and is creating the partner ecosystem and product offerings to excel.
What IBM expertise can you apply to buildings?
IBM analytics and data automation expertise can play a vital role in helping organizations “listen” and make sense of the data being generated from a building’s operations such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, manufacturing and computer usage. Analytics can flag outlying behavior such as the concurrent use of heating and air conditioning, or the use of heat when the external temperature was over 70 degrees. Analytics can even help pinpoint mechanical malfunctions causing inefficiencies in equipment, such as an air handling unit working overtime, which upon examination revealed a hole in a fan that needs to be replaced.
IBM’s business strategy in smarter buildings has been to extend key partnerships with building automation vendors, acquire needed IP and extend our analytics and data R&D into buildings. In March 2011, IBM acquired privately-owned TRIRIGA to add real-estate portfolio management and analysis of utility costs and carbon management.
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ Tags:  energy tririga sustainable tivoli smarter_building 2,445 Visits
There is nothing more exciting then winning a trifecta at the race track unless you live in the world of smarter buildings( like me )and are celebrating today’s triumvirate of IWMS, EAM and ITAM. See today's press release ( IBM to acquire Tririga )
This pioneering move to bring together these three worlds is the digital convergence of buildings and their associated equipment, end-to-end, that are required to deliver the services that differentiate each company. It is the new definition of smarter buildings.
And that is really good news for our customers as this will help them get the most from their infrastructure, an increasing area of focus.
Today, companies struggle with visibility into the operations of their building portfolio. Buildings and their assets are the second-largest expense on the balance sheet. Today most organizations rely on point products from different vendors to address areas such as: facility and datacenter infrastructure, lease obligations, energy and sustainability management, space and occupancy, and facility-condition assessment. Each product used by different departments maintains silos of information, making it difficult, if not impossible, to share across different operational functions locations. Similarly, business processes that span multiple groups cannot easily be supported when those groups are using different products.
TRIRIGA’s leadership in IWMS, coupled with IBM’s leadership in EAM and ITAM represents the perfect trifecta. And it is not just about the technology. Both companies combine deep services skills to help customers not only implement their software but transform process and policies, roles and responsibilities, and org structures to take smarter buildings to a new level.
The implementation of these systems is no longer possible by IT alone but by new alliances being formed from Personnel, facilities management and the CIO’s office. By working together, new strategic insight will emerge that will drive down portfolio cost and drive up operational efficiency.
IBM has been working over the last year to form new alliances with partners such as Johnson Controls, Inc., Honeywell, Eaton, and Autodesk to create new smarter building offerings that manage facilities, space, and energy. This welcome addition will extend and enhance our current joint offerings by adding enterprise-class management for real estate contracts, construction projects, occupancy, and environmental sustainability.
Helping companies become more efficient, reduce costs, and save energy is what makes Smarter Buildings a triple winner.
Reducing dependence on polluting fuels over the next quarter century is a goal that many industries today are pursuing — from auto makers investing in electric vehicles to startups and mature companies exploring alternative energy sources in wind, wave and solar power.
But one major area that often gets overlooked is closer to home–or, should I say, where you work and live. In the U.S., buildings account for 40 percent of our total energy use, and up to which 50 percent is wasted. By 2025, buildings worldwide will become the top consumers of energy.
The potential to cut energy usage while improving our buildings’ performance is tremendous. When IT and communication technology is wired into building management systems, organizations can manage energy usage scientifically by tapping analytics, sensor technologies and automation.
For instance, using predictive analytics, tied to things like badge readers or elevator usage, facilities managers can tell which percentage of floor space will be occupied on any given day, and adjust lights and heating to correspond to what is really needed at the moment. Sensors can flag when a heater and air conditioning unit are concurrently running—wasting undue energy. Smarter building technologies can help organizations save up to 30 percent of water usage along with lower energy costs resulting from reductions in the amount of energy used to pump and heat water.
By using these kinds of technology in IBM’s Rochester, Minnesota manufacturing facility, we were able to cut energy use by 8 percent, on top of the 6 percent reduction already being driven through aggressive energy improvement programs. That resulted in 14 percent total year-over-year reduction.
IBM is not alone. When organizations come together to tackle our
building problem, we’ve seen amazing outcomes. At Bryant University in
This example underscores the point that technology innovation is not enough. We also need leadership that requires a new set of skills to bring together groups that have operated independently. This kind of big thinking requires a cultural leap—in this case bringing IT and facilities managers together.
Opportunities for these new skills and new roles are already being embraced by top universities as they create new cross-discipline majors. Tulane University is a great example as they work to rebuild not only the campus and city that was devastated by hurricane Katrina, but also degree programs that will be relevant as we move forward. Tulane is working to combine engineering and life sciences in new ways and rise to the challenge of reinventing their school of architecture to include smarter building management.
Making our new and existing buildings smarter is a befitting ambition not only to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels but also to drive business results. More efficient buildings are also more profitable, giving those organizations a competitive advantage.
The challenge is clear but the good news is so is the path. We can get started today to rebuild our cities and communities, one smarter building at a time. We can accelerate this with new skills and roles for our workforce and become a more sustainable society.
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ Tags:  buildings energy initiative" smarter penn innovation obama "better 2,800 Visits
Today I had the honor of meeting President Obama and shaking his hand!
The President was at Penn State to provide more detail on the State of the Union plan to "Win the Future" through energy efficiency. (see my last blog entry which I wrote before I was informed I would go to this meeting with the President) He first toured some of the smarter building work in the Penn State Labs and then moved to the U Penn rec. center to address a larger crowd of professors, students, and business leaders.
President Obama announced his "Better Buildings Initiative" with a goal to improve energy efficiency by 20%. He mentioned the importance of Penn State as one the 3 energy HUB projects in the country to provide innovative smarter building leadership. He called out IBM as an important part of this project. That made us feel pretty damn proud!
Some of my favorite quotes from today: “ Show us your ideas, we’ll show you the money “ “ We will fund this by diverting funding that is currently given to the major oil companies …they are doing just fine on their own” “Smarter Buildings may not be as sexy as some other green projects your hear about but they are most important given they contribute 40% of the carbon emissions in our country” “ Study and create solutions as if the country depends on it…(pause for effect)...because it does! ”
Here are the high level actions:
New tax incentives for building efficiency
· More financing opportunities for commercial retrofits
· “Race to Green” for state and municipal governments that streamline regulations and attract private investment for retrofit projects
· The Better Buildings Challenge
· Training the next generation of commercial building technology workers
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ Tags:  ibm smarter_building state_of_the_union innovation tivoli obama energy 2,384 Visits
In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama set a goal of reducing dependence on polluting fuels over the next quarter century. In the U.S., buildings account for 40% of our total energy use, and by 2023, will be the top emitter of carbon dioxide. In IBM's strategic initiative to make buildings “smarter” we have found a significant opportunity to improve energy usage and building performance. Leveraging existing IT and communication technology, we have developed a way to wire into building management systems to drive end to end analytics and real time improvements. The results have shown up to a 200% return on investment. Utilizing this technology in one of our highest energy consuming manufacturing sites we created an 8% reduction in energy on top of the 6% reduction already being driven through energy improvement programs. That’s a 14% total year over year reduction!
President Obama also said that we need to out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world. He stressed the need for cutting edge initiatives in areas such as innovation and infrastructure. Making our new and existing buildings smarter is a great opportunity to do this. Innovation in building management not only makes them greener, it makes them more efficient and reducing building maintenance costs is key to making companies more profitable.. Innovation for smarter buildings includes a range of leading initiatives from analytics to smarter sensor technologies and related algorithms.
Leadership in this area will require a new set of skills that combine building facility management with IT management. This is driven by the convergence of digital and physical advances in the building space. Opportunities for these new skills and new roles are already being embraced by top universities as they create new cross-discipline majors. Tulane University is a great example as they work to rebuild not only the campus and city that was devastated by Katrina, but also the degree programs that will be relevant as we move forward and respond to the kind of call to action that Obama outlined. Tulane is working to combine engineering and life sciences in new ways and rise to the challenge of reinventing their school of architecture to include smarter building management.
The challenge is clear but the good news is so is the answer. We can get started today to rebuild our cities and communities, one smarter building at a time. We can accelerate this with new skills and roles for our workforce and show real leadership in the world.
Strange looking ‘trees’ are popping up all around the world. Towering above native pines, these scraggily ‘trees’ do not depend on sunlight to survive and tend to prosper in dense human population areas.
Who has failed to notice the proliferation of these man-made ‘trees’, or cellular transmission towers, spreading across our cities? In the US alone, there are well over 100,000 cell towers and thousands more are being added each year. While some may debate the aesthetic nature of these towers, there is little doubt that in the last decade we have become cellular addicts…as dependent on them as we are to electricity in our homes.
We use these cell towers to virtually connect with the world, making them vital
to our 21st century every day life. How do they work? Whether you
are making a simple phone call or downloading the latest score in the Giant’s
game, these towers operate more or less the same:
Your cellphone radios to the nearest tower’s antenna that connects you to the cellular network in your area. Your call, along with many others, gets routed to a backhaul, usually an underground
wired T1 or T3 line. If there is no
ground connection your call goes back up the mast to a powerful line-of-sight
wireless microwave antenna. An incoming call similarly comes back from the
backhaul and up through the switch to the antenna, where it then hits your
phone wirelessly. If you are moving out
of your towers range, then there's a handoff to a different tower that
transmits a response back to you…and all of this happens in the blink of an
At the base of each tower you will find the tower’s brains in a small fortified bunker to house the gear required for each station. This equipment needs to run 7X24 with zero downtime… for obvious reasons. Since a 100% reliable source of energy does not exist, batteries and generators are typically deployed as backup. And there are safety regulations for example: The FAA requires constant red blinking lights on each tower to identify it to low flying aircraft. This equipment also generates a great deal of heat in these tiny enclosed spaces. Since many cell towers are remote, fuel theft and security can be a problem as well.
While communities have gone to great lengths to blend the towers into landscapes, there remains an opportunity to better manage these bases and reduce their energy footprint. Considering the sheer number of towers, even the smallest improvement can have a significant multiplicative affect.
Enter the IBM Intelligent Site Operations solution which was announced this year. The focus is on instrumenting the management of a mobile network’s passive infrastructure and integrating it with active network management. This solution improves operations and reduces operating and energy costs, while improving asset performance and management.
The solution architecture allows the carrier to manage their passive assets (those not directly involved in delivering communications service such as HVAC systems, generators, batteries, security etc.) This includes monitoring, maintaining and controlling these assets. For example temperature can be monitored inside and outside the facility, and the thermostat can be changed remotely and you can take advantage of free air cooling. Another feature is that antennas can be remotely controlled to optimize coverage.
This solution also contains analytics that can compare the most efficient sites to the least efficient sites in order to focus energy improvement projects. By using the same technologies to manage both active and passive systems we can increase the effectiveness of the CSP in managing their overall operation and the service that is being delivered.
We have completed Business Value Analysis (BVA) at select Telecoms to quantify value, and ROI. The consensus is that this solution can pay for itself while at the same time improving reliability. We are working with partners such as Kentrox and Andrews as well as Johnson Controls. Not limited to North America, we are also actively working with countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Eastern Europe and Europe.
Reduced Fuel Costs
Enhanced Site Security
Reduction in Truck Rolls
Reduction in Site Maintenance Visits
Reduced Dispatched Technician Costs
The bottom line is this solution can help improve operations and energy use in near-real time; optimize operations that put towers, assets and people where they are needed most; plan better, from budgeting to preventive maintenance, and support security and regulatory compliance with reliable data. Lower cost, greener tower!
This morning I walked along a stone wall circling a hill as far as I could see. To my right was an expanse of green fields, bordered by forests that framed the horizon. The path I took this morning was well traveled. It was, in fact, along an aisle of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Many famous scientists, dignitaries, and world leaders have walked these halls of local field stone and uninterrupted glass.
Architected by Eero Saarinen over a half century ago, this iconic structure is still the vibrant epicenter of the world’s largest industrial research organization. Throughout the last five decades, this building has facilitated famous achievements and longstanding worldwide patent leadership. Saarinen believed that some of our best thinking is done with nature as our inspiration. His design embraces the forested landscape and natural stone with bold and sweeping lines that infer the endless possibilities of the human mind. I settled into one of his womb chairs in the library looking across a floating stone table into the green pasture to capture my thoughts for this article on paper.
The TJ Watson Research Center is located in Yorktown Heights, New York. It has played a lead pioneering role in the evolution of IBM, but, like its location, maintains some distance from the day-to-day operational units. Its shepherding, however, is felt around the world with extended research facilities that have embraced the growing global nature of our business.
The building and much of its furnishing, including the chair I am sitting on, have remained relatively intact for the last five decades, which is significant given the transformation of the IBM corporation since this building’s capstone was put in place on April 25th, 1961.
That transformation has affected everything within and without the structure itself while the foundational beliefs of IBM, like the very foundation of this building, remain intact.
The building houses a vast collection of tools and laboratories for close to six hundred PhD’s who work here. A formidable supply of electrical power as well as over 15,000 different chemicals and toxic gases are available. There is also an on-site nitrogen-generation plant, a helium-delivery system, an oxygen system, and a wastewater-treatment plant.
How does a building, designed before the IBM 360 system, keep up with the demands of bleeding edge science? I took a trip into the almost Harry Potter-like world of this building to find out.
Between the numbered corridors and hidden behind almost-invisible locked doors, another surprise awaited – the utility cores that efficiently provide water and gases to the building’s many laboratories. This core is a long and narrow alley with all manner of conduits and supply feeds. Who could possibly work in such a space? Apparently there is a wizard called ‘the plumber’ who has been tinkering in these spaces for longer than anyone in the building can remember.
Behind the back of the building, I went through an accordion-style access gate and down a set of steel steps into multiple large rooms that were filled with massive equipment. The vibrations, temperature, and sounds of these rooms let you know you are in the heart of the building.
It’s hard to appreciate boilers, chillers, condensers, fuel tanks, and electric stations until you stand next to (or under) them. Back in the days of punched cards and magnetic core memory, the chillers in this building were powered by steam and massive amounts of air exhaust were drawn out of the building by belt fans. The speed of the fans was adjusted by using different belts, each of which was changed by hand. Waste was pulled from the building from large skips on a daily basis.
Today the science and tools, which IBM is using for smarter planet offerings, are also transforming buildings like this that we live and work in. Manual controls and gauges have largely been replaced with digital switches and smart sensors. Energy management, sustainability, grey water applications, and carbon foot printing have supplanted prior practices that were based on the idea of unlimited resource. Recycling at this site has reduced waste to the point that only one container for two weeks is all that’s needed.
It takes good architectural “bones” to accommodate such change with only minor surgery. Today boilers are run far more efficiently and chiller towers are able to operate 3000 hours a year on free-air cooling. Research staff are working to further increase the efficiency of free-air usage by using the BlueGene supercomputer for weather prediction, while solar experiments are conducted on the building grounds. Facility engineers have developed and acquired software to run every aspect of the building inside control rooms that resemble computer-driven command centers.
IBM’s new smarter building solution leverages the experience gained from managing buildings like this one. Coupled with the IBM software stack, building management business partners, and global services, IBM is well poised to continue this advance for the next 100 years. Operations, space, and energy management are combining into one holistic, highly automated system. Building data feeds are being aggregated, filtered, and correlated to produce work orders and actions based on policies and rules that are programmed into the system. Data from the buildings is being captured in databases for analytics and mash-ups for different role-based dashboards.
Smarter buildings will be holistically managed and optimized to integrate well with other buildings, and with smarter systems like smart grid and smart water. They leverage technology and processes to create a safer, more productive, operationally efficient building that is also environmentally responsible for the planet.
The very science and research that the TJ Watson Research Center was designed to inspire and faithfully deliver over the last 50 years is now being leveraged to make this building smarter. In turn, the smarter this building becomes, the better job it will do facilitating the pioneering work which is conducted that has been a hallmark of the IBM Corporation.
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ Tags:  tivoli sustainable smarter georgetown grid buildings cities china 3,905 Visits
From the gate at 37th and
I met with the Chinese delegation at the Riggs Library on the
The idea of the world reaching a tipping point generated much discussion. This
tipping point is supported by the number and price point of smart sensors and
the bandwidth and processing power of today’s computers and networks needed to
process this data. One of the delegates asked, "Could this in fact really signal a threshold of a new era of
computing?" We are fast approaching
the 1 Trillion mark of connected things in the world. By some estimates 6
Terabytes of information is exchanged on the internet every second and there
are 1 Billion transistors in the world now for every human on the planet. This inflection point is not so much a result of a recent
technology breakthrough but rather of a rapidly evolving acceleration and
adoption of technology, particularly in this last decade.
'Smarter' infrastructure leverages this instrumentation, these sensors, integrates, correlates, and enriches it, and makes intelligent use of it. This provides the opportunity to sense & respond to opportunities and risks in ‘real time’ and can drive industry transformation when tied to business process management, event processing & business optimization. So, it is this tipping point of number of smart sensors that now instrument our world (beyond IT) and the processing power and bandwidth to handle this enormous volume of data and turn it into meaningful information that enables us to better manage our utilities, buildings and cities.
There was also a lot of discussion around the Climate Group’s Smart 2020 Study findings that Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) could save 7.8 Gt CO2e or 15% of global emissions by 2020. According to the Climate Group, energy efficiency is an area where improved building-level service management can deliver truly impressive results. Estimates are that smart buildings, in which energy efficiency is managed intelligently, can reduce overall energy consumption, as well as carbon dioxide generation, by 50 to 70 percent —yet maintain all services and target service levels. This study projects a potential cost savings of 341B in the next decade. But to achieve it, a new service management solution will be required to successfully merge building management and IT systems. It is not just about changing light bulbs and installing thermopanes, although that is always a good place to start. This solution should be able to converge traditional IT services such as data, voice and video along with traditional facilities services such as security, space, cooling and lighting, and then manage them on a single platform for an enhanced overall space management & facilities management tied to energy management.
I presented the concept of Bright Green , a relatively new concept to the study group that also drew much discussion. According to CABA (Continental Automated Building Association) bright green buildings are ones that leverage intelligent technologies to support environmental sustainability while providing a significant return on investment. A bright green building is one that will leverage intelligent building automation to not only control costs but reduce energy wastage. Bright Green buildings integrate disparate building systems to enable control by a centralized common user interface for single buildings or a set of buildings. High-performance buildings technology and strategies also add long-term, sustainable value to the property.
The sociological implications surrounding smart grid was another big topic of discussion. We discussed customer fears about privacy, security, price control, and even harmful radiation from the wireless transmission of smart meters. There has been some recent news in California around consumer distrust and lack of confidence. Although the study tour had already talked to US energy companies they were still debating the value to customers. We discussed customer advantages such as: how increased visibility to the consumer can help drive lower prices, how portal based interfaces can allow remote control by the owner and by the power company for trouble shooting, and how this is an enabler for renewable power sources and net metering.
We discussed how IT technology can make a building smarter. Examples included: Data modeling and analytics tools which can be leveraged to suggest areas of possible improvement. Asset management tools for assets of every class, at every stage in their lifecycles. Data aggregation and warehousing for generating new classes of performance reports that uncover emerging trends, and holistic monitoring tools to track the status and performance of both IT assets and facilities assets, and then drive a rapid and cost-efficient response.