Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Innovation, Technology and Sustainable Design






The MassTLC Energy cluster hosted a panel of experts discussing how technology can play a role in the lifecycle of new and existing buildings. Mark Nelson, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Facility Maintenance, DCAM discussed how today’s buildings must go beyond LEED certification and be maintained as a sustainable facility. As Mark put it, “It’s about getting the right data for your return on investment.” He also stressed that the person maintaining the building may not have the skills to run the building the way it was designed to run, that is where new smart technologies can help.

Ellen Watts, a principal with Architerra, described how over 60 Massachusetts towns voluntarily adopted the state’s “stretch code” to reduce the energy load of new construction, yet energy use in the US is still rising. Buildings play a large role in energy use and by integrating new technologies like solar panels, efficient lighting, and on-site fuel cells or biomass boilers architects can help builders get to a net-zero energy load.

Once the structure is designed and built, the next phase in the lifecycle becomes maintenance and this is where Johnson Controls (JCI) and Cisco come in. Brendon Buckley, North American NIS Solutions Director at JCI and Risk Esker, Director, Emerging Solutions Ecosystems at Cisco are leveraging data and technology to control the building. The challenge for them is pulling the data out of long established silos and bringing together different stake holders such as IT and facilities managers.

Brian Chemel, Founder and CTO, Digital Lumens is on the ground solving energy problems in new and existing buildings. Lighting dominates the energy usage in buildings and Digital Lumens’ technology brings together lighting clusters, network sensing and web based management to reduce energy.

The event ended with the panelists discussing what the next challenges are and what more can be done. Mark Nelson believes training for facilities managers who will be in charge of maintaining the buildings LEED certifications is important. Ellen Watts feels that more federal leadership is needed to tackle the issue of rising energy usage. Brendon Buckley wants to help educate customers on the return on investment in building management technologies. Finally, Brian Chemel stated that to promote real change government and business incentives need to be aligned.

CNET’s Green Tech Blog writer, Martin LaMonica, attended the event. You can find his article at, http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20049680-54.html.






Leveraging Convergence to Achieve Smarter Buildings, Brendan Buckley
Innovation, Technology & Sustainable Design:An Owner’s Perspective, Mark Nelson








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