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Real estate and property represents one of the largest expenses on an organization’s income statement. In many cases, up to 30% of annual operating funds are spent on real estate and facility assets, making proper management of them a top priority. Pressures to keep up with legislation changes, comply with energy reporting mandates and participate in growing green building and social responsibility initiatives are making it difficult for facility, real estate and financial managers to keep costs down and improve efficiency.

To add to these pressures, many organizations rely on disparate tools and technologies from multiple vendors to optimize their facility infrastructure, lease administration, utility consumption, and space utilization. The Federal government alone operates more than 900,000 buildings. Given these facts it is no surprise that an effort is ongoing to address the efficiency and usability of buildings and data centers.

IBM has launched the Smarter Buildings initiative to deal with the real estate and property challenges organizations face. Smarter buildings are well managed, integrated physical and digital infrastructures that provide optimal occupancy services in a reliable, cost effective and sustainable manner. Smarter buildings help their owners, operators and facility managers improve asset reliability and performance that, in turn, reduces energy use, optimizes how space is used, reduces water and other resource consumption and minimizes the environmental impact of their buildings.

What is a Smarter Building?

Smarter Buildings are well managed, integrated physical and digital infrastructures that provide optimal occupancy services in a reliable, cost effective, and sustainable manner. Analytics are a key component for managing smarter buildings. IBM’s Smarter Building Solutions give clients end-to-end visibility into their real estate and property assets, including the assets in their data centers and their IT infrastructure, allowing decision-makers to make better strategic decisions.

Smarter Buildings...

  • Are more cost effective by reducing energy and operating costs
  • Use active and designed-in techniques to achieve reliability, efficiency and environmental responsibility
  • Provide visibility, control and automation to building systems
  • Maintain a safer and more secure workplace
  • Communicate in real-time to supporting infrastructure (i.e. smart grid, broadband, etc.)
  • Increase employee productivity up to 18% on average

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Solutions

The Smarter Building solution set has the following main areas:

Energy Management
Energy management is the real-time monitoring of IT infrastructure, building and data center equipment. It reduces energy consumption and waste over the life cycle of a building and increases facility performance in a sustainable manner.

Operations Management
Operations management includes asset management and performance, utilization, availability, and life-cycle management. The portfolio of building assets is optimized through asset visibility and operations management.

Space Management
Space Management provides visibility of space use across the enterprise portfolio of buildings. It identifies underutilized space and suggests strategies for more efficient space use in data centers and facilities.

Existing building systems are integrated with IBM solutions to create one holistic, adaptive system that can deliver results. These solutions assist in information gathering and in determining key performance indicators (KPIs). By analyzing building data from the various sources, important information and trends can be identified. IBM solutions can use this information and source date to achieve a dynamic building environment to meet the mission objectives and handle changing demands and unanticipated external factors.

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Intelligence

A primary focus of Smarter Buildings is ensuring that buildings are energy efficient and sustainable. IBM and its partners are working toward convergence of IT solutions with facility and energy systems, creating a comprehensive view of key systems and data.

One area IBM is using analytics is in energy management. Existing energy data that is present in building management systems along with other information sources, provides the input data for Green Sigma™ analytics. This data is used by Green Sigma analytics to provide building owners and facilities management with insight and understanding of the performance and efficiency of their energy consuming assets. These analytics provide the information that is needed to respond to an operational malfunction. The use of analytics enables ongoing visibility of energy efficiency over time and provides condition-based monitoring at the asset level.

The use of analytics determines and assesses the base energy load for a building and identifies the system and operational drivers behind the base load. By studying fluctuation in energy use, clients can develop analytic reports and advanced analytical models. The results can also help the client understand the causes of inefficiencies that lead to remedial actions that improve energy efficiency.

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Case Studies

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