If temperatures get a little too toasty in the offices at 1433 N. Water St. in downtown Milwaukee and they need to come down ASAP, there’s an app for that.
“Our maintenance engineers and property managers are able to access real-time building information and the viability of each piece of equipment in the building through an app on a phone or through a dedicated secure laptop – one in the building and one they carry with them,” said Anne White, development executive assistant with Wangard Partners Inc., the developer and owner of the building. “So at any moment, if something goes wrong, they’re alerted immediately.”
The recently redeveloped 115,673-square-foot office building – formerly the site of Brookfield-based Laacke & Joys Co. LLC’s industrial sewing division – is among a growing number of buildings joining the ranks of “smart” or “intelligent” buildings. Such buildings rely on internet-connected devices to collect and communicate data that owners and managers use to optimize their building operations.
“Smart buildings are about data driving building technology and transformation and the power of that data to create value for building owners, their managers and their occupants,” said Dave Eidson, vice president of global advanced development and technology platforms for Johnson Controls Inc.
When Wangard set out to redevelop 1433 N. Water St., energy efficiency was a top priority, White said. So the firm chose a geothermal HVAC system, a solar array on the roof, and installed energy-efficient windows – features that are expected to save $1 per square foot annually.
And to help manage, monitor and remotely control the building, managers and engineers have access to data using a mobile app or computer, which provides real-time information related to room temperatures, water usage and the status of equipment.
“We can pinpoint equipment that may not be operating as it’s intended so that can be corrected,” White said, “(compared to) a year down the road, when a faulty piece of equipment has used eight times the amount of energy that it should have.”
“The immediacy of the alerts allows engineers and building managers to rectify a problem before tenants even realize something is amiss. And that translates to happier customers,” said Burton Metz, vice president at Wangard.
“The goal of a lot of these sustainability features is for tenant satisfaction, as well as employer retention,” Metz said. “In order to have happy employees here, you’re going to want to have comfortable HVAC and consistent HVAC as part of the building.”
Read the entire article as published by Lauren Anderson of the BizTimes.