CINCINNATI - We all had parents who turned down the thermostat and clicked off light switches to save energy. Now, of course, there’s an app for that. And Procter & Gamble Co. expects to save millions with it.
The IntelliCommand building management system, developed by Jones Lang LaSalle and Pacific Controls, reduced energy costs by 10 percent when P&G rolled it out in a Cincinnati pilot test earlier this year. Now, it’s installing the system in 76 of its biggest office properties worldwide.
“We’ve completed it in Asia and Latin America. We’re in the process of completing it in Western Europe right now,” said Larry Bridge, facilities and real estate governance manager at P&G.
Jones Lang LaSalle is a Chicago-based outsourcing partner that has managed P&G’s real estate since 2003. It partnered with Pacific Controls to launch the cloud-based energy management system in 2011. This video shows how it works:
The IntelliCommand system helped Jones Lang LaSalle win External Business Partner of the Year from P&G in early November.
The system allows Jones Lang LaSalle to remotely track energy usage on a real-time basis, allowing building managers to follow up on anomalies and shut down problems before they waste electricity – and money. The system is relatively cheap to install. Bridge said the pilot test cost “tens of thousands” for a 3.2 million-square-foot cluster of Cincinnati office properties. And those costs were recovered within three months of installation.
That’s a remarkable achievement in the energy savings game, where big capital investments in HVAC systems and solar panels often take years to pay for themselves.
“We’ll probably get close to several million (in savings) by the time we’re done with this,” Bridge said.
For Jones Lang LaSalle, the P&G results have “really given us leverage to take to other clients,” said Cindy Hill, a vice president in charge of sustainability on the P&G account.
In the Cincinnati pilot test, P&G installed IntelliCommand collection points in 12 buildings with 3.2 million square feet, including its global healthcare headquarters, numerous laboratories, a technical center and several mixed-use office properties. In 11 months, the system document energy savings totaling 4.4 million kilowatt hours. That’s enough energy to power approximately 440 homes.
“P&G had a pretty good infrastructure with a building management system,” said Hill. “So, if that component’s missing, the payback might be a little bit longer. Depends on how many points you put in and how much you want to actually watch and monitor and measure. That will vary the payback period. But I would say definitely within a year with most clients, you’re going to see that payback.”
The system helps P&G meet two of its major strategic objectives: Productivity improvements and sustainability.
The company announced a five-year goal of $10 billion in savings from productivity initiatives in 2012, including $1.2 billion in savings from reducing materials, manufacturing and shipping costs.
In 2010, P&G announced a host of new sustainability goals, including a 20 percent reduction in energy usage by 2020. In the company’s most recent sustainability report this month, P&G said it has achieved an 8 percent reduction in energy usage so far.
Bridge said the IntelliCommand system reduces energy costs in about 25 percent of its real estate portfolio. P&G is installing the system in buildings that it owns and can therefore control operating hours, lighting systems, heating and air conditioning units. Other technologies are likely to be used in manufacturing facilities.
“We’re looking ahead to … how we apply this in our leased space,” Bridge said. “We may not have total control over lighting and operating hours. But we want to know if equipment is running after hours. We want to know if lighting is left on after hours because that bill eventually comes back to us. This tool is looking like that’s going to give us some options there.”
Beyond IntelliCommand, Bridge said P&G has invested heavily in video-conferencing tools and other technologies to help employees reduce travel and work remotely. The more that happens, the more important it is to be able to monitor space remotely.
“It’s really interesting how work patterns have changed in the company,” he said. “We just use space differently, the way people work today. I was talking to someone today just about parking, you know, patterns we used to see. It would peak on a Wednesday, slower on weekends. We just don’t see those anymore. The patterns are all up in the air because people work so differently.”