City University of New York and IBM to Reduce Energy Consumption in Public School Buildings

Project Insights will Assist Teachers and Students About Energy Consumption

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ARMONK, N.Y., - 23 Mar 2011: The City University of New York (CUNY) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced they are developing new analytics technology that will help K-12 public schools in New York City reduce their energy consumption.  The project has been underway for the past 10 months and involves collecting data about weather, energy and building characteristics and performing extensive data analysis, modeling and optimization about the portfolio of schools.

John T. Shea, CEO of the Division of School Facilities at New York City’s Department of Education, said “One of our goals at the Department of Education is to reduce energy use in our buildings and learn from it. The IBM/CUNY energy analytics tool would help us better manage our buildings and would help our teachers incorporate the information from the energy use in the building to supplement the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.” 

The new analytical software tracks, forecasts, simulate and optimizes energy consumption in buildings.  The project will provide information and skills to help facility staff and property managers achieve significant energy savings, greenhouse gas emission reductions and cost savings.  To help develop the software, IBM and CUNY have been analyzing data about the K-12 Public Schools in New York City and local weather station data. 

Improving energy efficiency and developing new technologies for sustainable buildings have become increasingly important to city and municipal governments that manage diverse sets of public buildings. For example, under PlaNYC, New York City’s sustainability plan, the city plans to reduce its municipal carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2017. 

The Energy Analytics for Buildings project brings together teams from IBM Research, IBM Global Business Services, and the City University of New York’s Building Performance Lab.   

New software programs from the first-of-a-kind project will be used in training offered by the CUNY’s Building Performance Lab and its Steve L. Newman Real Estate Institute.  The training gives property managers, building engineers and operations staff the knowledge and skills needed to carry out sustainability projects and manage compliance with standards such as the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan and LEED for Existing Buildings certification. The first class of property managers and building engineers to be trained started in October 2010. 

Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the University Transportation Research Center at the City College of New York, stated “The City University is delighted to team with IBM in this pioneering effort to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower costs.” 

In collaboration with this project, IBM and the New York City Department of Education would be able to use the results to educate K-12 public school teachers and students in New York City about energy concepts. From March to April, New York City K-12 public schools are volunteering to compete in the Green Schools Alliance’s Green Cup Challenge ( to reduce energy consumption. The results can help drive human behavioral changes that can lead to electricity savings.  

“In many cases it’s unreasonable for cities to build brand new energy efficient buildings from scratch.  Rather, it’s important that we help governments, university campuses and corporations alike understand how they can use technology to make existing buildings as energy efficient and cost-effective as possible,” said Jane Snowdon, IBM Research.  “Adding advanced analytics and real-time communications to control systems and getting data into the hands of property managers and facility staff has the potential to drive powerful improvements for decades to come.”

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