IBM and Tulane University Usher in a New Era for Smarter Buildings in New Orleans

Universities in general provide their region with new ideas, new technology, and new talent each and every year.  In New Orleans, Tulane in particular continues to drive innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship in the city.

Tulane continues its momentum as a leading driver of innovation with its newly announced partnership with IBM.  The two have teamed up to launch IBM’s Intelligent Building Management software in New Orleans.   The program is designed to apply  IBM’s advanced analytics and automation software to make sense of buildings’ data and provides insights into the real-time operations of buildings and flags potential maintenance issues to improve equipment management and reliability.

The flagship project involves the transformation of the home of Tulane’s School of Architecture, the century-old Richardson Memorial Hall, into a “smarter building living laboratory,” using IBM Intelligent Building Management while maintaining respect for its historic status. The school aims to arm a new generation of architects with techniques that will allow historic buildings to be more efficiently adapted for modern use.

Like many century-old buildings, Richardson Memorial Hall’s heating, cooling, wiring and water equipment had been installed eight, 20 and even 40 years ago—when the energy requirements were only a fraction of today’s computer- and cooling-intensive environment.  The IBM project will bring together building technology for heating, cooling, lighting and water to act in a more holistic fashion for better results.  The building will have intelligence to monitor itself and communicate how it should be most efficiently operated, significantly reducing the natural resources it currently uses.

“The work with IBM will help us advance the vision of the school – a vision that considers sustainability as a fundamental ethic guiding our evolution and setting the stage for progress for years to come,” said Kenneth Schwartz, Dean of the School of Architecture, Tulane University. “We are particularly inspired by the melding of environmental sustainability and technology innovation as we embark in a new era of smarter buildings.”

The architecture students will get a first-hand opportunity to experiment on how air temperature, humidity, water temperature and other parameters affect the quality of comfort in the rooms as they aim to minimize the consumption of natural resources. Along with IBM, they’ll work in a cross-discipline team of facilities management, IT staff and partners such as Johnson Controls to create best practices that can be applied across campus and nationally.

“Organizations are struggling to find ways to reduce their buildings’ energy use,” said David Bartlett, vice president, IBM Smarter Buildings. “IBM sees a tremendous opportunity to help organizations listen to and make sense of a building’s operations by applying a real-time, analytic approach.”

The program is part of IBM’s product unveiling, where IBM has decided to showcase its technology in New Orleans, New York, and Minnesota.

With an estimated one million people around the world moving into cities each week, new urban growth is driving demand for buildings and energy use. Buildings consume a third of the world’s energy, according to recent reports and up to 50 percent of energy and water in buildings are often wasted. In fact, by 2025, buildings worldwide will become the largest consumer of global energy — more than transportation and the industrial sectors combined.

For more information, you visit the project’s website here.