America’s Tallest Skyscrapers: Keeping Cool & Saving Energy

John Hancock CenterThis is the John Hancock Center, one of the iconic building in Chicago and one of the tallest in America. Standing 100-story high, this building has 129 business tenants, over 700 condo units and an observatory at the top that provide a beautiful 360 degree view of the city.

It is a site to behold on the outside and at the top but what makes this building special all happens inside. It features a new automation system developed through the joint efforts of Intel, Dell, and KMC Control. This is done by embedding chips in the center’s heating and air conditioning system which then relays information about functions and energy use to the KMC Commander.

Cloud Server

This is all handled by chief engineer, Bill Casey where he direct the cloud to relay real-time information to his computer or even smartphone if he is on the go. “After trending the data for a couple of months, we can see where we can save energy and money,” he said. “For example, do you really need to be putting out 55-degree air at 3 a.m.?”

Statistics show that commercial buildings waste 30 percent of their energy. With an estimated worth of $49.4 billion, the building automation systems market is expected to grow 11 percent annually through 2022, according to a March forecast by Markets and Markets research.

This is just one example of the different possible application by using advanced sensors and leveraging the cloud to collect and analyze data. Casey said the Hancock Center system may expand to include lights, fans and elevators. “It’s a very large building with a lot moving parts,” Casey said of the eighth-largest building in the nation. “The possibilities are endless.”

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Go Green

Commercial and industrial buildings are responsible for 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the federal government, and improving efficiency by just 10 percent would amount to pulling 30 million vehicles off the road. Cities including Boston, New York and Seattle, require commercial building owners to disclose energy performance. This new system could not have come at a better time when the pressure to go green is rising.


This article was featured in Forbes.








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