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Smarter Buildings for a Smarter Planet: Johnson Controls Case Study

These days, everyone seems to be going green. For many that means switching off all lights during the earth hour or taking a cloth bag to the grocery store. For Johnson Controls, it means far more than that. It’s one company that walks the talk when it comes to leading edge building efficiency and sustainability initiatives. When Johnson Controls expanded and remodelled its Glendale, WI global headquarters the objective was to make the campus first LEED certified platinum facility in the state of Wisconsin. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance, environmentally sound buildings.

The 33-acre campus includes 306,359 square feet of new and completely renovated office space. It includes geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaic energy, underfloor heating and cooling. Efficient use of skylights and bigger windows increase the use of natural light and reduce dependence on artificial illumination. Rainwater harvesting is used to flush toilets.

For any green project, it’s vital to get the entire project team on board from the beginning. Early planning was facilitated by the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. It provides a three-dimensional view of the exact design and construction measurements that are shared by all project members. BIM helped in avoiding costly mistakes that can happen in traditional construction.

The single most innovative environmental element of the project is the geothermal heat pumps. The geothermal system is a closed loop heat exchanger system using water flowing through the loop transferring heat to and from the earth via vertical piping bore walls.  Pipes are driven into the soil beneath the site to utilize the earth’s stable interior temperature as a means for reducing mechanical heating and cooling requirements.

  • Winter mode: Using the geothermal system, the heat pumps are much more efficient than using natural gas hot water boilers and reduce the operating costs for heating by approximately 29%.
  • Summer Mode: Using the geothermal system to reject the chiller’s condenser heat is more efficient than using the cooling tower and it helps reduce the chiller’s operating cost by approximately 23%.  During summer, the heat pumps have approximately 57% less operating costs than using gas hot water boilers.

The facility also has ground mounted solar array of around 31,115 square feet and contains 1452 panels. It generates 400 kva. Solar generation supplements electricity needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 million pounds per year for the campus

The buildings have skylights and increased window space which reduces the use of energy for indoor lighting. The shades of the glass buildings are automatically controlled for efficient illumination of the workspace.

A 30,000-gallon cistern captures rainwater from roof surfaces on new buildings for reuse, reducing potable water consumption for new bathroom fixtures by 77 percent or 595,000 gallons.

All of this is tied together using the Johnson Controls Metasys building management system to coordinate all activities across the facilities and provide a single point of access to performance indicators – the information required for optimizing building efficiency, comfort and safety.

The campus is a continuation of Johnson Controls legacy that began in 1885. Its three global businesses — Automotive Experience, Building Efficiency and Power Solutions — continue to drive toward its mission of delivering a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world.

Comments

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