Empire State Building Uses Mobile App to Create $800k Per Year in Savings

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Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:58 pm

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Empire State Building has long been a global icon of leadership and innovation, from the completion of its initial construction in 1931 to the kickoff of the Empire State ReBuilding Program in 2009, to its successful investment and return focused energy-efficiency retrofit. Today, the Empire State Building, assisted by JLL, is continuing to lead innovation by harnessing a mobile app provided by Cortex Building Intelligence to track and control energy consumption at the property. By using the Cortex app, engineers at the Empire State Building have been able to operate HVAC systems more precisely. The substantial reduction in energy usage at the Empire State Building has translated into an $800,000 decrease in the building’s annual operating costs, all without compromising tenant satisfaction.

The Empire State Building has continued to create substantial energy savings over the past several years, from refurbishing all 6,514 windows in the building to making significant investments in their building management system. The Empire State Building has also continued to invest in the people who operate it, building an engineering team with more than 100 years of collective experience working in the building itself.

"We certainly spent significant time looking at a large number of building intelligence software platforms, and what really stood out to us about Cortex was its ability to provide powerful, specific and simple recommendations for the engineers through a mobile app that they could access from anywhere. Our work with ownership has shown that use of the app has been a benefit to the engineering team and they generated savings six times greater than Cortex originally projected," said Dana Robbins Schneider, a Managing Director at JLL who has led JLL’s work with ESRT at the Empire State Building.

Cortex connects directly to the building management system and meters and, in real time, distills the immense amount of data being collected into simple and intuitive charts, visualizations and recommendations that the engineers can access from their mobile devices. Consequently, the building engineers can make informed decisions with better information at their fingertips, such as when to turn up the chiller or fans, or when to shut systems down in the most energy-efficient manner. Engineers also receive alerts when they are within a certain percentage of hitting monthly peak electric or steam demand to avoid unnecessarily high peak demand charges.

"Cortex has become the main tool utilized by the engineering staff here at the Empire State Building to run efficiently our plant operations and track utility savings from all efficiency initiatives. Every member of our 21-person staff uses the Cortex app to make operational decisions as well as track initiatives and their results. We tap into the app at least twice per shift and have its dashboard fired up 24/7, 365," said Timothy Dailey, Chief Engineer, Empire State Realty Trust. "Our well-trained and experienced staff has been totally engaged and has found the Cortex app to be very helpful in reshaping long-held beliefs about plant operation best practices. But the dollar savings is the real justification to senior management and has been a huge success here at ESB."

Cortex’s recommendations are based on machine-learned historical, current and forecasted data specific to each building, taking into account weather, the day of the week and the preceding day’s profile to understand how best to operate the building. By continuously monitoring and analyzing data sources in each building, the Cortex platform helps engineers provide the best commands to the building’s HVAC infrastructure, a significant source of energy consumption and utility costs.

In addition to the real-time recommendations and insights offered through the app, the Cortex team has acted as a partner to the Empire State Building engineers and the JLL Energy and Sustainability team, participated in monthly discussions to identify collectively operational opportunities, and continues to issue regular savings and performance reports. In addition, the Cortex Customer Success team spends significant time in person with the building engineers, proactively identifying opportunities and answering questions. As described by Dailey, "We have 24-hour access to the app and also have daily interaction with Cortex team members where we get detailed reports."

"At Cortex, our primary mission is to solve specific problems facing building engineers, and enable them to create substantial bottom-line impact for ownership," said Bryan Bennett, Cortex’s Founder and CEO. "We strongly believe that one of the most valuable assets of any building is its operating team and the deep knowledge and judgment that the team brings. We think technology's role is to augment and support that asset, giving engineers better and more digestible information at their fingertips so they can make smart decisions. Because of that, our platform has been built, and will continue to be built, in collaboration with the engineers with whom we work."

SOURCE: Cortex

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