System integration improves corporate campus

Johnson Controls' LEED-certified global headquarters in Glendale, Wis. features innovative lighting design and an HVAC system that integrates renewable energy sources among other sustainable technologies and systems.

March 7, 2011

In the fall of 2007, Johnson Controls Inc. embarked on the construction and expansion of its global headquarters in Glendale, Wis. Three years later in the fall of 2010, the campus received LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. With this designation, the campus’s four buildings represent the largest concentration of LEED Platinum buildings to be awarded on one site.

The corporate campus implements a number of sustainable technologies and systems. Innovative lighting design and an HVAC system that integrates renewable energy sources are two examples of the features of the green campus. Using an integrated-construction approach for the renovation, the project maintained balance among available capital, design priorities, and measurable business outcomes.

With hands-on experience in more than 100 LEED-certified or registered customer projects around the globe, Johnson Controls brought a qualified understanding to its own construction endeavor. Input from customers and project managers gave the project team key insights into the technologies that would provide the best financial investment while having the least impact on the environment.

Two renovated buildings, a combined 160,000 sq-ft, house the company’s corporate administration offices. Two new buildings were also constructed: the 114,599 sq-ft headquarters for the company’s Power Solutions business; a 31,700 sq-ft building that hosts a cafeteria, meeting rooms, and a fitness center; and a new four-level parking structure for more than 400 vehicles, including space for plug-in hybrids.

The payback for going green is already clear. Although the campus space has almost doubled in size, overall energy usage has been reduced by 21%. Annual greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by more than 857,200 lbs of carbon dioxide.

Efficient planning

Today’s LEED standards encourage all parties in a building renovation to be involved early in the process because of the interconnection between different environmental credits. For the project management team, laying out an advance plan for construction was a priority.

The use of building information modeling (BIM) provided exact design and construction measurements from 3-D building-modeling software. This planning measure gave the team an on-screen preview to ensure that they would be getting exactly what they wanted before construction began.

BIM also helped avoid costly construction change orders at the corporate campus. The system’s technical accuracy enables precise measurement, which resulted in fewer change orders. This allowed for more automation when fabricating materials because all of the details were finalized early in the process, which lowered the financial variables. BIM further allowed contractors to perform work off-site in clean, dry factory environments, resulting in the reduction of weather-related delays.

An energy management foundation

To set the foundation for campus-wide integration, the existing Johnson Controls Metasys building management system was expanded and upgraded, providing the level of systems integration required for a high-level sustainability strategy.

The Metasys system enables the facility management team to coordinate and manage all activities at more than 51,000 data points across the multi-facility campus from a single point of access. More than 20 building systems, including heating, cooling, and lighting, are integrated with the IT infrastructure through one intelligent network.

The enhanced integration enables machine-to-machine interoperability. Building subsystems interact with one another without operator intervention. These efficiencies free up time for staff to focus on other critical tasks.

The Metasys Sustainability Manager collects and stores the vital data, including building-to-building comparisons of energy usage, estimations of greenhouse gas emissions, and fault detection diagnostics. The data can then be used to make informed, real-time decisions that save energy and money.

Renewable technologies

Renewable energy technologies are at the forefront of energy efficiency at the corporate campus. Solar panels are visible to campus visitors, and new technologies can be found below the ground too. The campus facilities rely on the earth to heat or cool water used in the HVAC equipment via a geothermal system.

A geothermal system uses the earth’s natural constant ambient temperature to regulate the temperature of water used by chillers and heat pumps. At 10 ft or more below the earth’s surface, the temperature stays between 50 and 60 F. Essentially, the geothermal system uses the earth as a heat sink or heat source depending on the time of year.

The construction team drilled 300 ft deep geothermal wells—272 in total—to accommodate the closed-loop system that supplies the heat pumps and chillers in the building. The system consists of a plate-to-plate heat exchanger, pumps, chillers, heat pump, piping, manifolds, and valves.

The team used global positioning system navigation to locate each geothermal well site and make measurements for all of the pipes. More than 180,000 ft of plastic piping connects the wells with the indoor HVAC equipment. Water flows through the system at a rate of 975 gpm, varying in temperature between 44 F in the winter and 97 F in the summer.

During the summer months, a geothermal system, instead of a cooling tower, is used to reject heat from a York 325-ton centrifugal chiller. The water temperature entering the chiller condenser is cooler than it would be using conventional cooling tower systems, resulting in a 28% decrease in chiller operating costs.

For the other half of the year—during Wisconsin’s ice-cold winters—water is circulated through the geothermal system to extract heat from below the earth’s surface. The heat generated by the system’s two 175-ton York brand central heat pumps is enough to warm two LEED Platinum buildings at a cost approximately 24% lower than using traditional natural gas boilers.

The campus also harnesses energy from the sun to supplement electricity needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The 1,452 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed along the grounds provide as much as 250 kW of electricity. In addition, more than 14,000 sq-ft of thin-film PV cells are laminated to the roof of one building to generate as much as 135 kW of electricity.

Lighting controls

Lighting controls installed throughout the campus further aid in managing cooling costs, while simultaneously increasing workspace comfort and productivity. Intelligent, controllable ballasts reduce artificial lighting and harvest natural daylight.

The new and existing buildings take advantage of natural light through daylighting. Skylights and increased window area maximize natural light, minimizing the need for artificial illumination. More than 70 skylights are strategically spaced throughout the campus, with two spanning almost the entire width of the building. Forty-five brick wall sections, measuring 17×11-ft, were replaced with energy-efficient glass.

While new windows and skylights reduce the need for artificial lighting, an excess of direct sunlight can create an uncomfortable work environment. To control glare while maintaining as much daylight as possible, automated shade controls are integrated into the windows. These shades automatically raise and lower, based on the intensity of incoming daylight and the location of the sun in the sky.

Overall, campus lighting consumes 0.45 to 0.65 W of energy/sq-ft, compared to the national average of 1.5 W/sq-ft.

Work environment

Integration of systems has a direct impact on the employees who go to work every day at the corporate campus. The Metasys building management system integrates with a wide variety of electrical devices, including lighting and HVAC controllers. These integrated lighting and HVAC technologies are not only energy efficient, but create a more comfortable environment for staff by accommodating their preferences into the work environment.

For example, when an employee arrives at his or her desk in the morning, a motion sensor detects the employee’s presence and delivers a signal to turn on nearby task and overhead lighting and HVAC systems. As the sun rises outside and natural light enters the building, the artificial lights are dimmed. If the sun begins to shine too intensely inside the building, the system automatically lowers the window shades. If the employee leaves his or her desk, the motion detector will turn off the lights and HVAC system, as they are not needed.

Information provided by Johnson Controls Inc.

The model for future green innovation

In 2010, Johnson Controls conducted the fourth annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey with more than 1,400 North American executives and managers responsible for making investments and managing energy in commercial buildings. The results showed that planned investment in energy efficiency is expected to rebound over the course of the year.

Following a decline in 2009, the survey found that 52% (up from 46%) planned to make capital investments in energy efficiency. Additionally, 60% (up from 55%) planned to make operating budget expenditures in efficiency programs over the upcoming 12 months.

When asked to predict which energy-related technologies would see the greatest improvement in performance-to-price ratio over the next 10 years, the top three responses from those surveyed said lighting (51%), smart-building technology (44%), and solar PV (38%).

The Johnson Controls corporate campus project further demonstrates how these energy-related technologies and systems integration continue to be the key components in technology innovation and sustainability. Lessons learned in Wisconsin are impacting the company’s solutions for customers worldwide.