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    2017 Smart Building
    Energy Summit Reports

    Reporting from the 2017 Smart Building Energy Summit #REimagine

    We hope you enjoyed the summit as much as we did! We want to share our favorite highlights with you, so we prepared this newsletter.


    “Smart buildings as a trend is gaining traction and, in some areas, is beginning to get past the early adoption phase. However, challenges remain with respect to general awareness, new learnings, acceptance, and role disruptions. ROI for energy savings can be calculated very easily. But a smart building saves not only energy, but also optimizes space, enables employee productivity, and improves health and well-being for all occupants. The ROI on human impact is less easy to calculate but is no less important.”

    Education Tracks


    Wish you could have been everywhere at once? Or couldn’t attend the Summit? No worries, we sent a team of Philips Lighting reporters to cover the Education tracks for you

    Business/Finance Track

    Supply Side Strategies for Energy Cost Reduction


    One of the best ways to cut energy costs is before it reaches your property. Multiple purchasing and supply side energy strategies, including demand response, are not only lowering costs, they are generating additional revenue.  In return, data from these approaches can ultimately improve your operating efficiency.


    • Outsourced energy management team: consultants provide strong partnership for reducing energy costs.
    • Many companies are lacking internal energy expertise and corresponding data understanding.
    • Expertise is needed in how to take the data and optimize to work within competitive markets to lower energy costs and consumption.
    • Demand response (or DR) requires having the systems and operations staff versed to manage tools to reduce peak demand.

    The Art and Science of Net Zero Energy Building Retrofit


    By focusing on the financial benefits of intelligent, green buildings, Net Zero Energy addresses the costs associated with building, retrofitting, and operating sustainable, energy efficient properties. Review of American Geophysical Union (AGU) building renovation with ROI models of various “green” initiatives include solar photovoltaic array, radiant cooling system, green wall, direct current power grid, water cistern, and sewer heat exchange.


    For more on the AGU project



    • By introducing global proven technology and strategies for sustainability (not new inventions), the project opened foreign firms to the more energy-cost-saving global market (i.e. sewer heat exchange tech from HUBER Technology in Germany, direct current power grid tech from Eltek in Norway).
    • The hydroponic phytoremediation wall, or “green wall,” is a modular wall system of pods housing hydroponic plants. With exposed plant roots, the plant cleans the air, allowing the plant to digest airborne toxins—VOCs, particulate matter, and other biological and chemical pollutants—without the plant itself becoming toxic. The building HVAC system sensors are triggered when the living wall air quality exceeds the building’s air quality, allowing either to produce air for the building occupants.
    • Aesthetically, the wall adds to the building’s visual appeal, increasing the employee approval rating and quality of life while at work. 

    Technical/Operations Track

    The Power of IoT for Portfolio-Wide Energy Efficiency


    Innovations and IT systems are slowly gaining in popularity and starting to pave the way towards empowerment of the “Smart Building” concept along with normalizing accepted standard practices at the global portfolio level. Leading owners and managers shared some great examples of how the Internet of Things (IoT) could connect to their buildings with the goals of benchmarking efficiencies, optimizing operations, sharing information, and reporting more effectively to improve the occupant experience. 


    • Many companies are starting to combine Facilities Management and IT Departments together in working teams often referred to as “Low Tech Wisdom” and “Hi-Tech” Machine learning. The combined areas of excellence can potentially enhance, influence, and impact the effectiveness of IoT progress and adoption of “Smart Building” programs.
    • Smart workspaces enable future employees to help decide where they want to work, when they want to work, and personalization of the overall workday experience.
    • The value of practicality and cost savings generally helps overcome the perceived obstacles of security issues in the decision-making process. 
    • “The Smartphone is the most critical device” to ensure “Smart Building” success, says  Zach Gentry – Chief Strategy Officer, Energy Metrics.

    Smart Buildings: The Move Towards M2M Data Driven Operations


    How “smart” can buildings become and what is the current impact and future role of direct machine-to-machine (M2M) communication on building operations and maintenance? National labs and industry leaders say “Smart” enough to use standard communications platforms with (M2M) bundles across open architectures so they can translate and talk to both new devices and legacy systems. In fact, they are already developing and implementing integrated smart building solutions for all building types with the purpose of capturing the full value of building automation. 



    • Many programs consist of integrating Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) within existing buildings, a wireless sensor network of 10 kilometers providing lower costs, longer ranges, lower power, and very secure.
    • Over 400 participating companies are using wide range networks for the Internet of Things through the LoRa Alliance to drive the global success of the LoRa protocol (LoRaWAN), by sharing knowledge and experience to guarantee interoperability between operators in one open global standard.
    • For more information visit:
    • Big Challenges and fundamental roadblocks include for normalizing standards and IoT include:
      Who owns the data, identity management, privacy, security deployment complexity,  life-cycle management and future-proofing. 

    The Impact of IoT on Building Operations and Management


    Traditional energy management has required a labor-intense monitoring and reporting system to inform effective decision making. That model has become obsolete due to the rapid adoption of new IoT technologies and analytics software – capable of data analysis, self-learning and predictive modeling. The disruptive technology has forced the real estate industry to reevaluate its current state and evolve rapidly into a data-driven world and management must either retrain existing personnel, find new sources of employees or identify third party resources to keep pace with change. 



    • Facilities managers are evolving into Smart Buildings Managers and companies need to future-proof machine learning and combine their knowledge of legacy systems and services before they start moving closer and closer towards retirement as the workforce is rapidly changing with the majority being from the Baby Boomer Era.
    • IoT is quickly advancing but the problem is they aren’t connected.
    • The next generation of Facilities Management and data integration can bring new value through smart data, algorithms and help reveal key learnings which people don’t even know about today.
    • Challenges to implementation of I0T and what should operations do?  

            • Technologies are complex

            • Buy-in from diverse staff and decision makers can be an uphill battle

            • Customer controls with lack of standards and consistency

            • Owner occupied is an easier value proposition than multi-tenant leased buildings

    Hot Topics Track

    Walking the Sustainability Talk


    This panel discussion concentrated on setting sustainability goals and walking the talk throughout all aspects of building maintenance and management. The panel shared best practices for getting started, monitoring, and reporting.


    • ARC – the climate change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) is a new EPA technology platform with online ratings systems to track LEED and GCI programs, and streamline the ability to measure sustainability performance.
    • When setting goals, start with one and refine it. Pick any goal “out of thin air” to get started. According to Sara Neff, Senior Vice President of Kilroy Real Estate, Kilroy is refining their energy use and is still defining their water use. Having goals is the talk, achieving those goals is the walk.
    • The power of disclosure was an important point made by the panel, with data sharing making it easier to establish strong benchmarks. “The more we disclose, the smarter we all get” said W. Scott Tew, Executive Director at Ingersoll Rand.

    The Power of Green: Advancing Alternative Energy Solutions


    Explored how to meet the needs and challenges of energy efficiency, including the use on-site and off-site renewable energy and renewable energy credits (RECs). Presentations included solar, wind, and creative “out of the box” ways to increase sustainability performance while driving cost-effective benefits for building owners and occupants alike. 



    • Energy procurement best practices included securing “brown” power supply rates as a 2-3 year hedging strategy based on marketing conditions, and the option to purchase renewable energy alongside supply contracts or to purchase RECs separately.
    • Internal education is important when considering on-site renewable energy investments: teams need to understand the mechanics and basics of a solar project, for example.
    • Consider distributed energy and ask “is there a behind the meter energy asset I should own?” and think of how to use cogeneration to increase performance (using heat from natural gas to generate electricity, for example).

    Building Performance that Pays: Energy Efficient Insights from the Experts


    Panel discussion around the findings of the first IREM energy efficiency survey. Panelists discussed how to use the data and how to improve the survey to get better data moving forward.




    • On whether or not decision makers understand energy efficiency, it was agreed that presenters need to know more if it is a long or short term hold: sustainability and efficiency is a process, not a project. It’s an ongoing effort.
    • Make energy efficiency part of a bigger picture that benefits investors, occupants, and building mangers. Regina “Reggie” T. Mullins, VP of Cushman & Wakefield, used the example of honeybees on the rooftop: 3 hives, 30,000 bees, producing 50 pints of honey that can be used as a marketing tool, or given to tenants. “Think outside the box – beyond how much money am I saving on kilowatts” commented Reggie.
    • Panelist Brenna Walraven, CEO at Corporate Sustainability Strategies, Inc., suggested focusing on other building attributes beyond financial ROI, including keeping a building marketable through improved perception and experience of the building.

    Corporate/Enterprise Track

    The Last Frontier: Transforming Buildings Through Data Visualization


    Connected buildings can now collect data through the IoT to monitor energy management, occupancy, weather, daylight sensing, and other factors. This allows a building owner and tenant to run the building more effectively. But collecting data is not enough. It matters more what you do with it. Analytics visually displayed in dashboards are a key component to incenting facilities and making data actionable.


    • An example of this is the pilot program run by DCSEU (DC Sustainable Energy Utility) which used graphic dashboards of the District’s building data in comparison to Benchmarks. Properties were compared and their status monitored on an Energy use Dashboards. This type of tool can help start conversations with facilities managers and tenants.
    • The power of comparison is strong. Benchmark My Building by Lucid is another example that allows users to see how they stack up against their peers.
    • Hilton Worldwide created their own Building Management software called Lightstay. This included installing multiple types of sensors to gather data across multiple buildings while still remaining accurate at the local level. It also included the use of dashboards with the recommendation that they could be monitored by local engineers who could take action on the data.

    Finding Big Savings with Energy Management Information Systems


    An energy management information system (EMIS) allows a building manager to gather all data in one location for analysis. In this session, solutions for EMIS were introduced by Yardi Systems and ICONICS. 



    • We must apply intelligence to systems and data so as not to overwhelm building maintenance with a never-ending to-do list. This includes prioritization based on projected impact.
    • Pro-active optimization is also critical. Instead of analyzing data once a year, being able to do it monthly or in real time allows a building user to be more efficient in heading off problems.
    • A benefit of an EMIS is that it can be made intelligent – for example – being able to filter out the energy used by MRI machines in a hospital, so that analysis of the building’s energy data can be more accurate. In addition, specific rooms can be heat mapped and flagged for more detailed inspection
    • The Institute for Market Transformation conducted an EMIS survey and found that managers of Office buildings were more likely than retail buildings to be excited by the idea of an EMIS. See Report Here.

    The 3-30-300 Principle:  Realizing The Total Value Proposition


    The 3-30-300 Principle refers to the estimated amount a company pays per square foot each year for energy costs, real estate, and its workforce.  According to this, the most expensive part of a company’s financials are its people. However, when corporations look for optimization opportunities they often go first to the $3 (energy costs) or the $30 (real estate), and leave the $300 (people) for last. How do we move past this hurdle? 



    • HR sets priorities and parameters for the workforce in a corporation. So they must now be included in building optimization conversations whenever changes might impact workers
    • Design the space the way the employees want to use it rather than how you wish they would (% of square footage dedicated to gathering spaces verses desks, glass walls versus opaque.
    • Stacy Gillen from Philips Lighting quoted a study that said workers lose 2.2% of their productivity time looking for meeting rooms.
    • In the outside world, people carry their smart phones constantly and use mobile apps for everything – from scheduling an Uber or reserving a table at a restaurant, to booking hotels and flights. Bringing this efficiency and access inside the workplace is a key. Imagine being able to use an app to search for and schedule a meeting room on the fly or to control the specific light points at your current location in the building.

    Smart Buildings and Smart Cities


    Smart buildings need to come together to become smart cities. This will allow a holistic approach using IoT to support energy optimization and efficiency. Greater gains can be realized when we move beyond the individual structure or corporation. 



    • Smart Buildings and Cities are not just about data gathering, they are about continuous improvement.
    • There must be an IoT enablement strategy. IoT is the sphere where we create the infrastructure for data gathering
    • Ultimately, in its most ideal state this will require a common operating environment and one source of data and dashboards.
    • Smart cities will also involve engaging stakeholders from both the building/city management (who control efficiency) and the end users (who control consumption). Education and incentive strategies for all involved will be important.