Balancing business and sustainability goals with Johnson Controls

The power of Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue Enterprise Manager and Microsoft Azure can guide digital transformation and achieve measurable success and savings

Vijay Sankaran
By Vijay Sankaran on 20 July 2022
Balancing business and sustainability goals with Johnson Controls

Building owners and operators looking for an edge to retain and attract tenants and staff need to juggle three factors: health, comfort and sustainability.

This daily challenge involves making trade-offs between competing goals and changing business needs. But managing indoor air quality (IAQ), sustainability and comfort doesn’t have to be a one-by-one, this-or-that decision.  

OpenBlue Enterprise Manager enables facilities teams to make data-driven operations choices, balancing all three goals at once – whether they are operating healthcare, education, commercial real estate or industrial facilities.

Building on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, OpenBlue Enterprise Manager acts as a recommendations engine, continuously scanning facility operations to uncover opportunities to save energy, improve IAQ and maintain occupant comfort. The system draws on site-specific systems data, pulls data from external vendor silos, and uses proprietary algorithms to simultaneously project the impact of operations decisions on all three areas. Facilities teams can then decide which actions to take or let OpenBlue Enterprise Manager make the decisions automatically. 

OpenBlue Enterprise Manager delivers measurable value and empowers businesses to achieve the outcomes that matter most. For example, users can create healthy, comfortable spaces while balancing energy spend with IAQ. They can optimise operations to gain a competitive advantage by cutting maintenance costs by up to 20 per cent. In addition, OpenBlue Enterprise Manager can help users to achieve sustainability goals and enhance the appeal of their buildings to tenants by reducing their energy costs by up to 30 per cent and shrinking carbon footprints.  

Businesses can layer OpenBlue Enterprise Manager onto any existing energy management or building automation system (BAS), such as Metasys from Johnson Controls. It can be used out of the box to complement a BAS, or can be combined with OpenBlue Enterprise Manager sensors and gateways for added functionality. Artificial intelligence analytics can also be fine-tuned based on individual floor space requirements and typical occupancy.  

Our experts will work with customers to determine how to structure data and ensure seamless communication. And, with the ever-growing array of OpenBlue apps and partner integrations, users can be confident that their system is future-proof. 

Many of our customers have achieved great success as a result of their partnerships with Johnson Controls. For example, Samford University in Alabama, USA, worked with us on a $31 million campus-wide performance infrastructure project. The initiative is expected to save $51 million over 20 years, while reducing the school’s carbon footprint, energy use and water consumption.  

The two-year project included new smart building automation systems, an advanced automation chilled water plant; indoor and outdoor LED lighting retrofits and lighting controls upgrades; high-quality windows; rainwater harvesting for irrigation; and other heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical and mechanical work. Utility and operational savings are guaranteed to cover the costs of the work without requiring additional funding or capital expenditure. 

We also worked with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), in partnership with Microsoft, to make its new headquarters the tallest, largest and smartest government net-zero energy building in the world. OpenBlue solutions including OpenBlue Enterprise Manager ensure the building’s annual energy use will be less than or equal to the energy produced on-site, and that its water use will be half that of comparable buildings.  

As a result of these partnerships and the work we are doing, Johnson Controls has been named a market leader in smart building internet of things (IoT) platforms by Verdantix, a London-based independent research and advisory firm. Its Green Quadrant: IoT Platforms for Smart Buildings 2022, released in January 2022, compares 17 platforms from the world’s leading vendors, and praises OpenBlue Enterprise Manager for its asset management, fault detection and diagnostics, and multi-recommendation IAQ tools. 

Wherever your business stands on the path to sustainability, our OpenBlue solutions can help you balance sustainability and business goals to achieve measurable progress. Cut energy use, optimise asset performance, enhance occupant well-being, and protect our planet.  

Vijay Sankaran is vice president and chief technology officer at Johnson Controls 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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