Intelligent Goals for Intelligent Cities

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Public-private initiatives are making data the smart way to save energy

Cities across America, and around the world, are creating public-private initiatives around sustainability and livability goals. And they’re being intelligent about it: intelligent cities support their goal-setting processes with IT solutions that enable benchmarking, measurement, and achievement.

These intelligent cities depend on smart buildings. After all, building efficiency is central to both sustainability and livability.  In the U.S., cities including Austin, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. have set mandates for energy benchmarking of large buildings – for city facilities as well as private ones.

In setting goals for building efficiency, cities take a range of approaches. Some make buildings’ ENERGY STAR scores public in reports; others publish general ENERGY STAR performance without naming specific buildings. Still others have begun by releasing general statistics, with a plan to start naming individual buildings’ scores at a set date in the future.

Across these varied approaches, there are a couple of key elements in common: cities are benchmarking using ENERGY STAR standards, and counting on the very measurement of efficiency – whether made public or kept private – to be a motivating factor for ongoing improvement.

This is where intelligent building technology solutions come in. Setting energy benchmarks for a whole city requires consistent measurement and meaningful reporting on a scale beyond the building or portfolio level. New cloud-based solutions are helping communities meet that need, offering scalable solutions that can work with other platforms and building systems.

On the most fundamental level, Johnson Controls can help businesses comply with legislation based on ENERGY STAR, doing the “heavy lifting” for energy managers when it comes to data and reporting. Cloud-based applications can provide customized ENERGY STAR reports based on utility bill data – all in a matter of minutes, instead of the hours it would take to pull and report on this data manually.

And that’s just one way evolving technologies can help. The ever-expanding universe of applications can help businesses manage energy and maintenance costs, reduce environmental impact, enhance occupant comfort, and increase the value of their buildings – all while providing the data needed to verify savings and compliance.


    Talon, Casey and Yesner Clarke, Ruthbea. “Business Strategy: Building Synergies in the Smart Ecosystem — How Smart Cities Can Support Smart Building Technology Deployment.” IDC Energy Insights #EI241375. June 2013.

    Dews, Alex and Wu, Sarah. The City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Greenworks Philadelphia Update and 2012 Progress Report.”

    Talon, Casey and Feblowitz, Jill. “Business Strategy: State of the Smart Buildings Market — The Owners' Perspective.” IDC Energy Insights #EI240316. March 2013.

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