Jones Lang LaSalle is regularly using advanced intelligent boiler control

Case studies

Published: 09 May

Author: Geoff Newman

Type: Case studies

Year: 2012

Jones Lang LaSalle property managers use simple boiler software and predictive analytics to improve efficiency and lower costs at commercial buildings.

CHICAGO, March 21, 2012

Commercial real estate property managers - under tremendous pressure to aggressively manage costs, risks and energy consumption - are turning to more affordable advanced building control software to improve efficiency and lower costs at properties, without sacrificing service levels.

"Integrating smart technology with building controls is a proven and effective way to optimize building performance while also meeting clients and tenants expectations for efficient and comfortable buildings", said Dan Pufunt, President of Property Management for Jones Lang LaSalle. "As technology becomes more accessible and affordable, properties of all types and sizes can benefit from the savings such advancements offer."

Advances in building control software applications especially help property owners and managers proactively monitor their buildings systems to get ahead of issues before they become complex problems, as well as conserve energy without necessarily having to invest in full-blown, expensive integrated automation systems.

"A lot of technology solutions exist that help owners analyze or plug into automated systems to generate energy savings," said Joseph Andronaco, Regional Engineering Director for Jones Lang LaSalle. In the past, such technology was expensive; but now, options with similar functions are available that aren't cost prohibitive."

For example, several years ago the typical price for boiler controllers was $80,000 with a payback period of five years, Andronaco said. However, technical advances are now allowing owners to invest in simple solutions that offer the same results for a fraction of the priceā€even as low as between $5,000 and $10,000.

Within its management portfolio, Jones Lang LaSalle is regularly using advanced intelligent boiler control software to analyze how quickly and slowly water heats up. The M2G boiler control unit simply screws on to the side of any boiler. It monitors the temperature of the water in the flow and return every 10 seconds. That information is recorded, along with the heat transfer rates at both the first and second stage firings.

When a loading demand is made, the M2G system automatically checks the latest data it has stored and decides whether it is more economical to retain first stage firing or to introduce a second stage firing. The result is a substantial fuel reduction during less demanding situations, while ensuring maximum capacity during heavy load periods. It optimizes boiler efficiency, typically resulting in a 20 percent gas reduction and a payback period of eight to 12 months.

"Small investments that come with big results are wise investments for owners of all types, but especially those of middle-market portfolios where the resources to invest in top-of-the-line automated systems might not be available," Andronaco said.

Property managers and engineers are also increasingly relying on predictive analytics software to more effectively manage their properties operating systems and equipment. Such software provides data on building and equipment performance, energy-use and a facility's carbon footprint. From that data, the building management team is able to predict and prevent potential breakdowns, as well as optimize energy performance by identifying and correcting energy inefficiencies.

Jones Lang LaSalle has recently developed a cloud-based, proprietary predictive analytics system called IntelliCommand to provide 24/7 real-time remote monitoring and control of facilities. Smart technology captures information from a building's systems and sends the data to the cloud. Advanced algorithms identify and diagnose trends and patterns in the data, indicating possible equipment or operational issues.

IntelliCommand engineering professionals review and validate the information. They then work through Jones Lang LaSalle's comprehensive facilities management platform to quickly address the issues before they become problems. They are constantly commissioning and fine-tuning operations to ensure buildings are operating at optimum performance at all times.

"Rather than wait for an alarm, we're looking for a condition that would create an alarm," said Chris Browne, Managing Director of Integrated Facilities Management for Jones Lang LaSalle. "Uncovering an issue before it leads to a potential shutdown or even merely uncomfortable tenants at a property can prevent substantial losses in productivity or revenue. We are combining smart technology with real estate knowledge to get in front of any potential problem."

The system is efficient because uncovered issues can often be resolved remotely. Further, those issues that require on-site maintenance are still resolved quickly because IntelliCommand can identify a specific equipment failure, giving the maintenance team the upfront knowledge necessary to arrive on-site with the right tools, parts and know-how to complete the job.

Andronaco said properties using the technology have experienced savings of 12 to 20 percent on utilities; not to mention lower maintenance and engineering labor costs. In fact, in one building, the program paid for itself in six weeks as a result of cost savings and human capital savings.

"Thanks to the integration of building automation systems and predictive analytics, buildings can alert us of operational inefficiencies, equipment issues and potential failures before they become big problems or complaints," Andronaco said. "IntelliCommand's ability to analyze trends, identify issues and proactively take action enables us to enhance performance, avoid failures, eliminate unnecessary costs, and drive better decisions around prioritizing capital projects."

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About Jones Lang LaSalle

Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate. The firm offers integrated services delivered by expert teams worldwide to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. With 2011 global revenue of $3.6 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle serves clients in 70 countries from more than 1,000 locations worldwide, including 200 corporate offices. The firm is an industry leader in property and corporate facility management services, with a portfolio of approximately 2.1 billion square feet worldwide. LaSalle Investment Management, the company's investment management business, is one of the world's largest and most diverse in real estate with $47.7 billion of assets under management. For further information, please visit our website,