Until recently, Microsoft was using disparate building management systems to manage 30,000 unconnected,
sensor-enabled pieces of equipment. Imagine a symphony orchestra, but with every musician playing from different sheet music. Then, imagine trying to conduct that symphony – to make sure the music was on tempo, in key, and starting and stopping as it should. Microsoft’s buildings were experiencing data dissonance that would make the works of Igor Stravinsky sound like a barbershop quartet.
This is the challenge faced by many in the Public sector. Old legacy equipment is not perceived to be capable of true energy efficiency! The question was raised “Do we rip and replace, or try to reduce energy through technology?”
Smith’s team created a pilot program in 13 of the buildings on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. The team developed an “analytical blanket” based upon ICONICS software to lie on top of the diverse systems used to manage the buildings. The blanket of software enabled equipment and buildings to talk to each other, and to provide a wealth of data to building managers.
The new tool got data out of the buildings – great tidal waves of data that came cascading into the ROC, telling engineers about everything from wasteful lighting schedules to hugely inefficient (but up until then, silent and undetectable) battles being waged between air conditioners and heaters to maintain temperatures.
Engineers are no longer climbing over rooftops, inspecting pump rooms and peering above ceiling tiles, no, engineers are now spending 95 percent of their time doing engineering. Suddenly, the symphony of sensors was not only following the conductor, its musicians were all playing the same song. As buildings came online and data poured in, it created what engineers called a “target-rich environment” for problem solving.
They used to move from building to building, camping out in each for two weeks at a time to inspect and tune it top to bottom before moving on to the next. It would take them five years to tune up all of the buildings on campus, and then they’d start the process all over again. Their tune-ups were making the buildings run more efficiently, saving the company around $250,000 annually – but the new data gold rush has helped them save six times that much!
ICONICS and its partners are looking to engage with any company, institution or person who is looking to drive energy reductions through technology. We have a suite of tools that can both scale to size and budget. ICONICS promotes an international culture of innovation and is the reigning Microsoft Sustainability Partner of the Year. This award recognizes software innovations built on the Microsoft platform that help organizations, governments and cities around the world reduce their impact on the environment.