Want To Know How Campus Infrastructure Impacts Higher Education? Ask Our Expert
Russell Garcia, Director, Higher Education, North America
Q: Welcome to a world where everything is smart, safe, comfortable and sustainable. What does this vision mean for higher education?
RUSSELL GARCIA: In today’s world of higher education, campuses face many challenges – brand competition, diversification, rising costs, growing security problems, energy resilience and modernizing infrastructure. Colleges and universities are addressing those challenges to cultivate and enhance their institutional value and integrity. They need world-class infrastructure and facility management. For higher education, Johnson Controls defines the vision of a smart, safe, comfortable and sustainable world as creating the best balance of cost, comfort, risk and resilience. Concerns include uptime on facilities, performance on demand for campus buildings, meeting targets for greenhouse gases, protection and mitigation against variable energy prices, and integrating new technologies.
Q: Comfort seems like table stakes in the building industry. Why is it critical in higher education?
RG: Comfort is critical to the campus population of students, parents,staff and visitors. They expect peace of mind with state-of-the-art security, and the building metabolism of comfort, energy, audio, visual, heating, cooling and lighting. Strengths in those areas support an increase in student enrollment, retention, campus events, research and curriculum development. Trade-offs between comfort, energy costs, environmental stewardship and resiliency are narrowing. Building systems are now talking to each other. They’re talking to “clouds” with automated security and building controls. Clouds are talking to electric utilities, micro-grids, other buildings and people with smartphones. They’re all interrelated.
Q: In addition to comfort and security, have sustainability and “green” become expectations in the industry as well?
RG: In higher education, sustainability and green expectations have taken the form of campus goals, policy and vision. Aggressive goals such as carbon neutrality may have tremendous economic and environmental benefits. Many U.S. campuses have signed on to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), a high-visibility effort to address global warming. Johnson Controls recently sponsored the annual Presidents’ Climate leadership summit and showed how public-private partnerships can address campus infrastructure needs.
Q: What does a “smart” campus look like?
RG: A “smart” campus rapidly detects and responds to small problems before they become big problems or cause distraction for students, staff and visitors. It identifies inefficiencies that could be corrected without compromising operations. It creates a performance infrastructure where building systems “talk to each other” to coordinate common outcomes, such as environmental controls, physical security, lighting and signage.
Q: You mentioned security in your previous response. With the Johnson Controls and Tyco merger, the new company now has one of the most comprehensive security portfolios. What most excites you around safety and security?
RG: The new company combines technologies that are changing the world around us and the business of managing a facility’s performance infrastructure and security in campus institutions. Compared to other industries, we have less need to trade comfort and security for cost reduction in colleges and universities.
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