How Mesa Drives Comfort & Sustainability In Commercial Buildings Through IoT

How Mesa Drives Comfort & Sustainability In Commercial Buildings Through IoT

Pippa Boothman
14. Oct 2020 | 12 min read

How Mesa Drives Comfort & Sustainability In Commercial Buildings Through IoT

Facilities Managers are generally concerned with optimizing safety, comfort and sustainability in the workplace. In 2020, they all face similar challenges:

Mesa is an easy-to-install kit that uses real-time data and automation to optimize energy use in commercial spaces. It is developed by Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation company. As a preferred partner of Sidewalk Labs, Disruptive Technologies provides many of the sensors for Mesa. Through Mesa, facilities managers and building owners can quickly and easily comply with energy regulations while reducing energy costs, all while maintaining tenant comfort.

The Top 2 Challenges In Facilities Management

During the last couple of years, facilities managers are increasingly required to deal with new challenges that go beyond conventional FM tasks. The most prominent are environmental footprint and remote monitoring.

Environmental Footprint

In an era of rising urbanization, buildings are rapidly becoming major emitters of greenhouse gases. In dense cities like New York, buildings account for an impressive 70% of city emissions.

In urban areas, commercial buildings’ emissions are significantly disproportionate to their square footage. As a prominent example, in New York City (NYC), commercial buildings contribute to 30% of the emissions, yet they occupy 15% of the city’s building area. Half of these emissions are due to poorly managed energy in tenant-spaces. This is especially the case for older and smaller Class B/C buildings.

In the US, Class B/C office buildings represent 97% of all office buildings and 68% of the total square footage. Therefore, energy-efficient buildings and related facilities management applications must contribute to improving the environmental performance of built environments.

Remote Monitoring

Modern cities comprise thousands of mobile workers. These workers are not confined to their office. Rather, they have flexible working patterns, including working from home during certain days and working from shared/co-working spaces, in addition to spending time at their office.

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified these irregular working patterns, as many companies implement flexible working policies like working from home. In this context, tenants need to manage the conditions of their office (e.g., heating or ventilation) remotely, regardless of time and location.

Facilities Managers are therefore required to offer remote management capabilities, including applications that empower tenants to monitor and control the status of their working space.

IoT-Driven Energy Efficiency and Remote Monitoring

To address the sustainability and remote management challenges, Facility Managers take advantage of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

IoT opens new horizons in Facilities Management.

As IoT devices are deployed in offices and buildings, real estate companies and FM enterprises are provided with instant, internet-based access to information about the status of office spaces, equipment and other assets of their buildings.

For instance, smart thermostats provide accurate information about a room’s temperature, while smart bulbs can offer access to lighting data. The analysis of this information brings unprecedented opportunities for deploying intelligent applications that boost automation, provide remote management capabilities, and improve sustainability. Prominent examples include applications for energy efficiency, climate control and predictive maintenance.

Disruptive Technologies (DT) provides a rich set of reliable, accurate and long-lived sensor solutions, which can effectively support the next generation of IoT-based Facilities Management applications. DT’s sensors can be flexibly integrated into advanced Facilities Management solutions that alleviate some of the most pressing business challenges.

Recently, DT has partnered with leading vendors and integrators of building management solutions and has enabled a cutting-edge energy-saving solution that meets stringent business requirements in an affordable way.

Mesa - An Energy Saving Solution for Smart Buildings In Partnership with Disruptive Technologies

To address modern sustainability and remote monitoring challenges for facilities management, Disruptive Technologies has partnered with Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet NYC based urban innovation company, to support its commercial office sustainability offering: Mesa.

Mesa, an easy-to-install kit for saving energy in smart building applications. It’s a simple, comprehensive, and cost-effective energy-saving system that improves the efficiency and sustainability of office spaces. Mesa taps into Disruptive Technologies sensors and cloud connectors.

Mesa leverages DT’s sensing technologies to then dynamically control HVAC and plug loads via smart devices and a backend optimization engine. It provides facilities managers and tenants with insights and real-time information about the office spaces. For example, it provides fresh air and ventilation warnings, as well as occupancy indicators.

The solution offers a unique, compelling set of values for building operators and facility managers, including:

  • Plug-n-Play Configuration: The system is automatically configurable, which obviates the need for tedious installation tasks. Its plug-n-play nature increases its user-friendliness and minimizes installation and deployment costs.
  • Real-Time Operation: The solution optimizes comfort and energy consumption in almost real-time. It is able to perform fast acquisition and analysis of sensor data.
  • Affordability: The system features a very affordable Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which facilitates its deployment and operation by smaller, budget-sensitive enterprises.

The solution is ideal for Class B/C commercial buildings that are usually budget and resource-constrained. In most cases, building operators have no easy way to identify, compare, implement, and maintain energy-savings technologies. Especially in buildings without the resources to own and operate state of the art energy optimization platforms, such as Building Management Systems (BMS) or Building Automation Systems (BAS). Hence, buildings tend to have high greenhouse gas emissions as a result of unmanaged energy in tenant spaces.

The Mesa-based energy-saving system enables you to substantially improve your environmental footprint, while at the same time ensuring a healthy and smart workplace for tenants.

Overall, Mesa is a one-stop-shop for buildings that may not have the knowledge, expertise, and equity capital to deploy large-scale energy management platforms. It also enables these buildings to provide a “smart” upgrade to their tenants and to improve their environmental performance at the same time.

mesa kit components

Mesa Features Wireless IoT Sensors and User-Friendly Application

The solution features an exceptional urban-friendly design, which is combined with cutting edge technologies for intelligent detection and management of office resources. Specifically, the solution comprises the following technical components and functionalities:

  • IoT sensors: Disruptive Technologies sensors are a fundamental part of the solution. They provide the means for sensing the office environment towards providing relevant contextual information (e.g., room temperature and humidity) to the backend optimization algorithms.
  • IoT platform: Sensors and other smart devices are integrated within an IoT platform, which facilitates data management and operational configuration.
  • Remote monitoring module: This part of the solution enables remote access to information about the context of the office, while at the same time enabling control of HVAC and plug loads.
  • Fault detection and diagnostic analytics: This application analyses sensor information towards detecting malfunctions in the office equipment. It enables the acquisition of real-time information about the various assets while empowering effective, condition-based maintenance services based on predictive analytics.
  • Workplace analytics: This application provides both real-time and analytical information about the status of the workplace. It offers information about occupancy, energy efficiency, and comfort-related parameters. It also enables the optimization of both comfort conditions and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Tenant Engagement application: Tenants are provided with the option of interacting with their office spaces towards configuring environmental conditions in-line with their needs. This is made possible based on the tenant engagement application of the solution.
mesa user interface mesa user interface mesa user interface

Mesa Leads to Energy Savings, Increased Building Valuation and Enhanced Comfort & Health

The Mesa Smart Energy solution for Class B/C commercial buildings delivers tangible business benefits for all stakeholders.

First and foremost, it enables smaller businesses in the facilities management space to improve their competitiveness and environmental performance alike. Specifically, it facilitates the development of novel smart building and smart workplace environments, which are very appealing to customers.

Moreover, it helps them to save energy and to contribute to climate challenges. In this way, they economize on energy costs, while at the same time improving their brand image.

Tenants also get significant benefits:

  • Energy Savings: Mesa delivers up to 20% energy savings and building valuation, along with a significantly decreased carbon footprint.
  • Increased Building Valuation: Energy savings lead to decreased operating expenses. Subsequently, the Net Operating Income of the building increases. This has a positive impact on the overall valuation of the building.
  • Automation: The solution enables automated adjustments to the desired workplace conditions, without manual interventions for configuration and fine-tuning.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Mesa facilitates compliance with emerging emissions regulations like NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act in New York.
  • Real-Time visibility in the conditions of the space: The solution provides remote access to thermostats and select outlets, which provides tenants with real-time visibility of their space. This is very useful for companies with home-office policies, especially prominent during the COVID19 outbreak.
  • Increased comfort and health: With Mesa, tenants enjoy comfortable and healthy conditions, like fresh air warnings and thermostat adjustments.

Finally, the technology providers of the solution (i.e. Sidewalk Labs and DT) benefit from a fruitful collaboration that led to the roll-out of a novel product, which is much needed in the smart building industry.

Mesa Empowers Businesses To Succeed

Through this solution, Sidewalk Labs and Disruptive Technologies are empowering commercial businesses to offer services that combine energy efficiency and sustainability, with a healthy workplace that is always visible to tenants. This is a solution that may have seemed unattainable for many companies, however now they can easily meet their energy and sustainability goals. With Mesa, the opportunities are endless, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Right now, the solution is being piloted by one of the ten most prominent real estate companies worldwide. During the pandemic, the implementation of the project did not slow down - it accelerated to meet the needs of monitoring empty and full buildings, monitoring the health of the workplace and understanding how budgets can be better used. Disruptive Technologies is proud to have delivered a solution that helps tenants succeed in an affordable, cost-effective way.

We have already received positive feedback from customers and industry practitioners and look forward to furthering our sensor deployment.

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Pippa Boothman

Pippa Boothman

Pippa is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Disruptive Technologies. She has 15+ years of experience in global B2C and B2B marketing & sales, brand management & strategy and business development within technology, apparel and consumer goods. She holds a BA in sociology and criminology from Western University in Canada. Pippa is passionate about people, products and the planet and she is an ardent advocate of fantastic customer service. Her best ideas come when she is reading, running, biking, traveling, talking to strangers and doing yoga headstands.

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