IBM to Monitor 50 Federal Buildings, Save Taxpayers $15m – With More to Come

by | May 18, 2012

IBM has won a contract to develop and install smart building technology in 50 of the federal government’s most energy-consuming buildings, and the resulting data could help reduce operating costs across the General Service Administration’s entire inventory of nearly 182 million square feet.

The GSA, which awarded the contract to IBM, says this initiative will save taxpayers up to $15 million annually by connecting building management systems to a central cloud-based platform. In the first year, 50 buildings will be integrated on this building management system. As additional federal buildings are constructed and other facilities are upgraded, the platform will manage those buildings, too.

Under the terms of the contract, IBM will develop a system to monitor building performance nationwide and stream data to a central facility. The technology will link major building controls, and when the system is fully integrated, tenants will be able to view the performance of their buildings on dashboards with real-time metrics on energy savings. They will also see recommendations on how to further increase efficiencies.

GSA says it will then use the data and analytics to save energy and reduce costs across its entire fleet of buildings.

The contract is part of GSA’s larger smart building strategy to reduce energy use. The agency’s plan to meet the requirements of President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 includes a goal of reducing energy consumption in federal buildings by 30 percent by 2015, using fiscal year 2008 as a baseline.

Earlier this month, the GSA released its first review of three facilities certification systems — Green Globes, LEED and the International Living Building Challenge — which will help to update the GSA’s green building certification systems to meet federal sustainability requirements for new buildings, major renovations, and upgrades to existing facilities.

Commercial buildings account for nearly 40 percent of the United State’s primary energy use.

In addition to helping government buildings consume less energy, IBM has reduced its own carbon emissions. IBM and other members of WWF’s Climate Savers program cut their carbon dioxide emissions by more than 100 million tons over the period 1999 to 2011, according to an independent review of the program by energy consultancy Ecofys.

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