Technology that makes buildings 'smart'

- We all know about smart phones, but what about smart buildings? Well, they're here.  Big buildings in New York are figuring out, on their own, how to run more efficiently.

Rudin Management Chief Operating Officer John Gilbert says, "Buildings have always had a heart. The engine room.  the boiler room.  Now they have a brain."

And the brain can analyze everything from electrical usage, to heating and air conditioning, to carbon dioxide levels in real time.

Rudin Management owns 40 buildings in Manhattan; both commercial and residential. Gilbert and a colleague have developed the smart-building technology called Nantum. It's being used in 17 of the company's buildings so far. The goal of the technology is to conserve energy and save money.

"In a 20-story building, let's say a million square feet, that's half a million dollars a year in savings," Gilbert says.

Using the turnstiles, the operating system knows how many people are in a building every minute of the day. Using an algorithm, it can then adjust heating and air conditioning.

CEO Bill Rudin says, "We've reduced hot and cold calls from our tenants by about 30-40 percent.  We've saved about 10-30 percent on energy costs, which goes right back to our tenants."

As people begin to leave for lunch the control panel "sees" that there is a drop in total electric demand.  Knowing that fewer people are in the building, the system then slows down the air conditioning.

Based on past usage, the technology can also predict how much electricity and water the building will use.

"The building gives predictions based on occupancy, outside temperature, and time of the year," Gilbert says.

A big bonus is that building operations can also access all of this information on their phones or iPads no matter where they are.

"This system can fit into any building environment; hospitals, hotels, universities, office buildings, apartment buildings. It's agnostic as to use," Gilbert says.

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