IBM Unveils Smarter Building Software

June 9, 2011
Event at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art highlights two pilot projects.

IBM unveiled its first software solution aimed at making buildings more environmentally sensitive and energy efficient at a forum in New York, said Natasha Roukos, the companys director for smarter buildings.

The forum, which had nearly 120 attendees, was designed to give real-world examples of two projects where the companys software called Intelligent Buiding Management is making buildings more energy efficient and green, Roukos says. The projects included Tulane University and the IBM facilities in Rochester, Minn.

"The software collects data from buildings and analyzes it," Roukos says. "It monitors it and looks for deviations and, when it finds one, it automatically prompts the facilities managers to check it out."

Roukos says such information saves building management companies money because it allows them to do maintenance on an ongoing basis rather than waiting until a catastrophic failure of the equipment occurs.

In addition, the software can aggregate data from several buildings with the same functionality as if it were one building, Roukos says.

One of the other advantages to the IBM software is that it is an open architecture platform, meaning that building managers do not need to rip out any building management software theyve already in which theyve already invested. The open architecture allows the IBM software to work with any of the building management programs already on the market, Roukos said.

At Tulane University, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the school of architecture is renovating its 100-year-old building using the technology, Roukos said.

"The Dean wants to give his students hands on training with the software and retrofitting buildings," Roukos said. "It will help them rebuild the campus on a much more sustainable basis. The lessons they learn from their own building can be used across the entire campus and throughout New Orleans. Theyre excited."

At the IBM facilities in Rochester, the technology has already helped the company save 8% of their energy costs on top of the 5% to 7% they already saved through other means, Roukos said. They are now planning on rolling out the software to the rest of the facility and throughout the organization.

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