GSA hires IBM to run the smart building initiative

Monday - 5/14/2012, 6:43pm EDT

Fifty of the government's highest energy-consuming buildings soon will get new smart technology to help reduce electricity and other power usage.

The General Services Administration awarded IBM a one-year contract to develop a system to monitor how much energy these buildings use nationwide. IBM will collect the data in a central location, letting GSA's Public Buildings Service employees perform analytics and to save energy and reduce building operating costs across the agency's entire 182-million square foot inventory.

"The installation of this new smart buildings technology will give employees and building managers a new window into building operations and launch a whole new chapter in efficient, cost-effective building management strategies while delivering important savings to the taxpayer," said GSA acting administrator Dan Tangherlini in a release.

GSA issued the RFP for smart building technology in August. As part of the solicitation, GSA said the 50 buildings include the Ronald Reagan Building and the Federal Aviation Administration's Wilbur Wright Building in Washington, D.C., and the Everett Dirksen building in Chicago, the Richard Russell Building in Atlanta and the JFK Federal Building in Boston.

"This program connects existing building technologies in new ways to improve building efficiency in over 32 million square feet of real estate," said GSA's acting PBS commissioner Linda Chero in the release. "Awarding this contract benefits taxpayers, as it will reduce maintenance and operating costs of the federal building portfolio--saving taxpayers an estimated $15 million annually."

GSA says when the system is fully in place, agency customers will have a dashboard to better understand the energy usage and where potential areas for efficiencies exist.

"The new technology will give property managers real-time information and diagnostic tools to keep buildings performing at peak efficiency, increasing cost savings across the federal building portfolio," GSA said.

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