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September 15, 2020

Connectivity: A Sustainable Foundation for Buildings

Crosstown Concourse located in Memphis, TN

Imagine this: a building that continuously learns, adapts and improves, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy savings. A building with highly efficient HVAC and integrated controls systems capable of yielding insightful data that helps building owners manage productivity and comfort - while making the right decisions for their facilities and the planet.

We are leading our industry into a new age of sustainability – with connected buildings serving as the gateway to bold thinking and operations – all in line with our 2030 Commitments.

Buildings consume about 40% of the energy produced in the United States. A third of that energy use comes from heating and cooling. With HVAC demand expected to triple by 2050, connected buildings that utilize digital controls will play a crucial role in ongoing efficient energy management and sustainable building operations.

Connectivity and sustainability a cohesive strategy

This connectivity will play an integral role in our Gigaton Challenge, which pledges to reduce our customer carbon footprint by one Gigaton of CO2e by 2030 – the equivalent of 2% of the world’s GHGs. To meaningfully reduce these emissions, we will rise to the challenge of innovating even more connected buildings solutions – accelerating decarbonization and aiding in the transformation to net-zero buildings. The connectedness of equipment and systems will progressively make our calculations and success in the Gigaton Challenge very straightforward.

As we recognize and respond to global megatrends like resource constraints and changing workforce dynamics, the question of what’s possible in the connected buildings space, especially as it relates to new technologies and innovative solutions, cannot be overstated. The ability to remotely analyze and address issues such as air flow, humidity and air quality is increasingly important. The data gathered from each unique facility gives us the strongest look into its specific performance needs, and how to increase sustainability through holistic solutions.

A working example

Crosstown Concourse sits in the heart of the Crosstown neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee, and knows a thing or two about the value of connectivity. The multi-story, 1.5 million square foot mixed use development is one of the most complex buildings in the city, with a crucial need for remote support.

The facility’s development team wanted the building to serve as a catalyst for growth in the arts, education and healthcare – and knew that creating a financially and environmentally sustainable ‘vertical urban village’ would play a key role in revitalizing the neighborhood. After selecting Trane as their sustainability, systems and building controls partner, a cohesive effort was launched to identify the most efficient, holistic design for the project.

Over 1,200 pieces of connected equipment, including the Trane Tracer® Ensemble™, a highly efficient, cloud-based building management system, and about 100 energy meters were installed throughout the facility’s buildings. All were utilized to optimize daily operations, track and bill tenant energy use, troubleshoot issues, establish scheduling and make setpoint changes. The system also employed Trane Intelligent Services for data analysis, to uncover more energy saving opportunities, provide recommendations on optimizing equipment performance, and reduce operational costs and carbon emissions.

To date, Crosstown Concourse’s energy costs and carbon emissions – driven by advanced, real-time analytics – has reduced 3 percent year-over-year since the building’s 2017 re-opening. The facility is on track to save $760,000 in annual utility costs and 8,400 tons of carbon emissions per year compared to LEED baseline. These savings and efficiencies will help power community growth for generations to come.

“Increasing this facility’s performance means putting more money back into the community, where the true impact is realized,” said Bradley Wilford, vice president of asset management for Commercial Advisors, the property management firm who oversees the Crosstown project. “The revitalization of this neighborhood is what has, and will continue to, measure the success of Crosstown Concourse in the future.”

A once dormant building, sitting idly for almost 20 years, is now a thriving, vibrant mecca for all walks of life and businesses.

It’s time to take action and secure a sustainable future through connected buildings so they don’t become relics of a less sustainable past. We’re leading our industry and changing the world – one building at a time – through bold 2030 Commitments, innovating every major facet of our business.

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“Increasing this facility’s performance means putting more money back into the community, where the true impact is realized”

Bradley Wilford, vice president of asset management for Commercial Advisors
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