The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a contract to IBM to develop and install advanced smart-building technology in 50 of the federal government’s highest energy-consuming buildings. Part of GSA’s larger smart-building strategy, this initiative will connect building-management systems to a central cloud-based platform, improving efficiency and saving up to $15 million in taxpayer dollars annually.

GSA owns nearly 182 million square feet of office space nationwide. GSA'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.

Under the terms of the contract, IBM will develop a system to monitor building performance nationwide and stream data to a central facility, allowing faster analysis and more informed decision-making. This project uses building-management technology that links major building controls in real-time to make federal buildings more energy efficient. When fully implemented, GSA will use newly available data and analytics to save energy and reduce building operating costs in GSA’s entire owned inventory.

“The development of this industry-leading smart-building system begins a new era in how GSA manages our nation’s public buildings and will prove the feasibility of this technology for the larger industry,” GSA Acting Public Buildings Commissioner Linda Chero said. “This program connects existing building technologies in new ways to improve building efficiency in over 32 million sq ft of real estate. Awarding this contract benefits taxpayers, as it will reduce maintenance and operating costs of the federal building portfolio—saving taxpayers an estimated $15 million annually.”

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 and recommendations on how to further increase efficiencies. 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, those buildings will also be managed with this platform. The new technology will give property managers real-time information and diagnostic tools to keep buildings performing at peak efficiency, increasing cost savings across the federal building portfolio.

“We are at a tipping point in terms of advancing the ‘greening’ of our buildings and making them smarter,” IBM Vice President of Industry Solutions Dave Bartlett said. “When you look at buildings holistically, with end-to-end visibility across all systems, you can more clearly see the connections, the interactions, and opportunities for efficiency among the various systems. Using analytics, we can make better decisions about how to best visualize and optimize these systems. The data exists—it's a matter of understanding and responding to what the data is telling us, and that's what we're helping GSA to do.”

For more information on IBM Smarter Buildings, visit: www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/buildings