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One of the largest power utilities in the U.S. created a smart building “incubator” to serve as a model of energy efficiency. Energy saving best practices would then be incorporated in construction of their new headquarters.Salt River Project (SRP), one of the largest power utilities in the U.S., created a smart buildingenergy savings, and efficiency model to implement in its headquarters. With plans to renovate its 350,000 square-foot headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., SRP seized an opportunity to renovate the three-story, 85,000 square-foot Credit Union Building (CUB) next door, and create a smart building “incubator.” “We decided, if we’re going to spend all this money on the big building, we should first test it in a controlled, smaller environment to see what we like, and don’t like,” said SRP’s Facilities Director, Dave Olsen.

Olsen had two goals that would drive implementation decisions. The first was to achieve LEED Gold certification, which in itself delivers significant cost savings. The second he said was to address:, “How do we make a smarter building, and a better environment for employees?” Olsen went on to say, “What is the opportunity, how do we start, and how do we sensibly integrate it into a new culture?” To achieve this, Olsen engaged Scottsdale-based technology integration firm, Immedia Integrated Technologies. Immedia’s President, Jeff Emmons, presented the multi-layered benefits of Crestron’s Fusion® The enterprise management platform enables the monitoring, management, control, and automation, of lighting, shades, HVAC, mechanical systems, and AV systems, through a single intuitive user interface.

By using Crestron to monitor and collect data, SRP and Immedia worked together to create a solution that would include energy cost savings, and Room Scheduling. To create a baseline for data analysis all of the systems were run for a few months without modifications.Then we went in and made a temperature change by one degree and we were able to visually quantify how much one-degree in temperature variance makes on daily consumption of energy. Occupancy sensors placed throughout the building delivered additional, significant energy savings. “The occupancy sensors turn on mechanical systems over BACnet/IP when people are in the space,” said Ira Beyer, ACE, CCMP, CLC-C, DMC-E- 4K, Programming & Engineering at Immedia. “When there is nobody in the space, and it’s after hours, then we shut those systems back a ways and we’re able to show some drastic savings in electricity by doing that.” Through a combination of room scheduling, occupancy sensors, and room technology utilization monitoring, “With Crestron Fusion, conference room monitoring gives SRP metrics that can be used to define types and quantities of spaces based on data from the existing space,” said Emmons. A Crestron room scheduling touch screen placed on a wall outside of each meeting space displays the room name and status of the room. Using Outlook®, employees can book a room using the touch screen, or from their PC, or mobile device.

There’s nothing worse than spending money on technology that doesn’t get used. It can be equally costly if a meeting room does not have the right technology, or if the equipment fails. “We can tell if an AV device goes offline, if a projector bulb is due for replacement, or if a display isn’t working,” Olsen commented. “We couldn’t do that before; it was always a, ‘Hey, somebody call support.’ Or even worse, and more likely, no one called, and the technical support team didn’t know there was a problem.” Proactively maintaining the equipment based on data gathered will help reduce the number of Help Desk calls. In order for the solutions Immedia proposed, the equipment needed is as follows:

“We’re much clearer now about what we want the building to do,” said Olsen. “We have companies that are approaching us to tour our facility and learn from us. We’re actually doing it.”