carnegie mellon

by Staff Reports • @IBMinsights

Carnegie Mellon transforms the way campus buildings are managed with cloud-based analytics

Published March 16, 2015


NEWS BRIEF--Carnegie Mellon University has helped shape some of the world’s brightest and most innovative minds, from famed mathematician Josh Nash to Hollywood producers and founders of some of the biggest companies.

Befitting of the institution’s concentration on engineering and computer science, Carnegie Mellon recognized the need to change the way campus buildings are managed. Located in western Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon’s campus consists of a sprawling 6.5 million square feet of infrastructure, miles of underground utilities, and thousands of parking spaces. With more than 12,000 students in the university’s seven schools and colleges, maintenance and upkeep of campus facilities is a daunting task.

To accomplish this, Carnegie Mellon has taken a page out of the smarter cities book on efficiency and has become the first higher education institution to pioneer the use of a new cloud-based analytics system for reducing energy and facility operating costs.

Buildings are expected to become the largest consumer of global energy by 2025, according to the National Science and Technology Council. Systems such as elevators, HVAC, lighting, and alarms constantly report data across building networks. However, most organizations do not use the data as well as they could to monitor overall building performance, identify trends in building use, or improve customer satisfaction.

Carnegie Mellon University addresses these challenges with the new IBM Building Management Center, delivered on the IBM SoftLayer cloud to monitor thousands of data points from building automation and control systems. The Building Management Center will also detect system problems such as simultaneous heating and cooling not identified by other means, and proactively trigger corrective actions.

The new technology will be piloted in nine buildings and then extended to 36 buildings across campus. The initial application of the Building Management Center will focus on HVAC systems and later will extend to lighting, water, and other utilities. The system is scheduled for full implementation in about three years.

The university expects to save approximately 10 percent on utilities, nearly $2 million annually, when the IBM system is fully deployed across 36 buildings on its Pittsburgh campus.

“On its own, the deployment of this technology will drive significant energy and operational savings with a very attractive return on investment. Just as important, improved building performance enhances the occupant experience and provides a much more effective education and research environment,” says Donald Coffelt, Associate Vice President for Carnegie Mellon University’s Facilities Management Services.

Wayne Balta, Vice President, IBM Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, adds, “CMU recognized early on that a college campus shares several things in common with a city. Just as Smarter Cities are using data and analytics to improve diverse aspects of their operations, CMU will harness data and analytics delivered via cloud computing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of building management across campus. We've done this within IBM and know it to be good for our business as well as the environment."

The IBM Building Management Center solution is a pre-built solution delivered as a service using IBM’s powerful analytics and asset management capabilities and IBM Global Business Services expertise. The cloud infrastructure connects seamlessly and privately to on-premise sources of data from building systems. It also provides visibility and access for the best performance, scalability and control with the required security. 

“This is the newest in a series of cloud-based Smarter Cities management centers including transportation, water, and emergency management designed to help organizations quickly begin using their own data for new insight and improved decision making,” said Michael Dixon, general manager, IBM Smarter Cities. 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.”



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