--> Gill Blog: Things to Know Before Going Onstage

Gill Blog

Monday, February 02, 2004

Things to Know Before Going Onstage

Last September's paper on smart buildings stimulated a great deal of discussion from property owners, managers and business continuity professionals globally. In it, we attempted to link last summer's blackout to broader issues including business continuity planning, sustainability, and smart buildings.

This week, I have been invited to speak at a federal conference in Ottawa sponsored by the Real Property Institute of Canada (RPIC), where I will not only review highlights of the paper, but discuss policy changes that have occurred since August 14, 2003. I plan to revisit areas including the great work that is coming out of the Center for Information Technology research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at the University of California, Berkeley which is leading the way in developing smart systems that could eventually save California billions of dollars per year in energy costs. We spent a fair amount of time in our paper last summer discussing CITRIS and immediately recognized these guys were on to something.
"Some of the most innovative smart building technology is currently coming out of (CITRIS) at the University of California, Berkeley. This oranization's goal is to create power-aware buildings that could eventually save the state of California $5-$7B per year and the nation $35B in energy costs per year...In California, state funds have already been set aside to outfit office towers with smart motes imbedded within air conditioning systems that know when the state is running low on electricity, so those systems can cycle on and off"
I mention this before presenting my paper in Ottawa, because while I was preparing my discussion notes, I ran across this article in TIME Magazine echoing what we wrote about in the fall. Kris Pister is spearheading the CITRIS program and the emphasis of the article was on Pister, and how revolutionary the technology the group is developing:
Pister believes his tiny motes will have a transforming effect on how we monitor the world. "It's going to be a hugely revolutionary technology," he says. Already, he has performed an experiment for the U.S. Army in which a mere eight motes were dropped from a plane and used to detect a fleet of vehicles on the ground. Homeland Security will start using smart dust this summer in a pilot project to protect ports in Florida. And Honeywell has started using motes in supermarkets to make giant refrigerators more energy efficient.
I also highlight the following article that came out in mid-January that discusses the results of a six month study that was released in Ontario by the Electricity Conservation and Supply task force. The thrust of this piece was similar in tone to the report released by the Joint US/Canada Power System task force in November, but was more holistic and forward looking in its approach. It not only describes problems associated with an aging infrastructure, but suggests that we have be more proactive in crafting solutions that better manage the demand side of the equation:
"Without new supply and substantial conservation efforts, Ontario could have insufficient power to meet its peak requirements by 2006...By 2014, the province would have only half the generation capacity it needs to ensure adequate and reliable electricity service...By 2020, about two-thirds of the province's existing electricity generating capacity will have reached the end of its planned operating life"
Again, echoes of the problems we suggested were worthy of closer attention. Over the coming weeks, I will publish a multimedia version of this week's presentation in parts that will be available on the website.

In the short term, however, I need to get back to perfecting my stage presence for my upcoming performance in Ottawa. Now where was I? Oh yes: "I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

Please join the discussion about smart buildings.


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