Building a sustainable future with Johnson Controls

Partnerships that harness the power of digital transformation will be essential in decarbonising buildings and the planet

Katie McGinty
By Katie McGinty on 28 October 2022
Building a sustainable future with Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls

The planet’s health is at a critical inflection point. The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sound the alarm: leaders, governments and businesses all over the world must act urgently to solve the environmental crisis before it is too late.

Microsoft and Johnson Controls have shared goals of achieving a more sustainable future through digital transformation. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, buildings account for nearly 40 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. So, it is clear that decarbonising buildings is key to decarbonising the planet. And digitalisation is essential to both.

Digital platforms break through the silos of equipment, controls and data systems, enabling the building’s infrastructure to become agile and flexible. This dramatically reduces energy consumption in vacant or lightly used spaces while reimagining the building as a ‘battery’. This ‘battery’ is then capable of hosting renewable energy resources and earning money as those green electrons get sold back to the grid.

Imagine a world filled with buildings that can learn and respond to the people inside, or buildings that can talk to one another and work collectively to improve our wellness, security and productivity. With the implementation of advanced smart technologies, buildings go from being bricks and mortar that drain resources to strategic assets that drive our businesses, make us happier and healthier, and make net-zero carbon a reality, not just a promise and imperative.

Built on the Microsoft Cloud, solutions like the Johnson Controls OpenBlue platform are helping businesses to do just that. OpenBlue collects data from internet of things-connected devices inside buildings – including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, security, and fire controls – and uses machine learning to deliver insights, enabling building owners and operators to drive exceptional efficiency, occupant comfort and safety outcomes. And the results have been remarkable. According to internal research, OpenBlue can achieve a 66 per cent reduction in unplanned downtime and a 30 per cent reduction in energy use and carbon footprint for chillers. Decarbonisation of buildings through digital transformation is good for our future and for customers, lowering their costs and bolstering the bottom line.

We believe change happens through partnership, and with Microsoft, we’re improving the performance of buildings across the world by turning data into insights, and insights into actions.

Katie McGinty is vice president and chief sustainability and external relations officer at Johnson Controls 

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

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