Corporate Delivery of a Global Smart Buildings Program
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1080/01998595.2018.11950815
Buildings account for about 40 percent of the total energy consumption in the U.S. and emit approximately one third of greenhouse gas emissions. But they also offer tremendous potential for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions with the right savings strategies. With an increasing amount of data from buildings and advanced computational and analytical abilities, buildings can be made “smart” to optimize energy consumption and occupant comfort. Smart buildings are often characterized as having a high degree of data and system integration, connectivity and control, as well as the advanced use of data analytics. These “smarts” can enable up to 10–20% savings in a building, and help ensure that they persist over time. In 2009, Microsoft Corporation launched the Energy-Smart Buildings (ESB) program with a vision to improve building operations services, security and accessibility in services, and new tenant applications and services that improve productivity and optimize energy use. The ESB program focused on fault diagnostics, advanced analytics and new organizational processes and practices to support their operational integration. In addition to the ESB program, Microsoft undertook capital improvement projects that made effective use of a utility incentive program and lab consolidations over the same duration. The ESB program began with a pilot at Microsoft's Puget Sound campus that identified significant savings of up to 6–10% in the 13 pilot buildings. The success of the pilot led to a global deployment of the program. Between 2009 and 2015, there was a 23.7% reduction in annual electricity consumption (kWh) at the Puget Sound campus with 18.5% of that resulting from the ESB and lab consolidations. This article provides the results of research conducted to assess the best-practice strategies that Microsoft implemented to achieve these savings, including the fault diagnostic routines that are the foundation of the ESB program and organizational change management practices. It also presents the process that was adopted to scale the ESB program globally. We conclude with recommendations for how these successes can be generalized and replicated by other corporate enterprises.