KRP Properties won a national award in innovation for its commitment to sustainability

On October 3rd, KRP was awarded the BOMA Canada Pinnacle Award in Innovation. This award recognizes our unique approach to sustainability, incorporating new leading edge technologies to reduce energy consumption and improve occupant comfort in our buildings.

What Was Our Approach?

Like many building owners and managers that have an aging portfolio of assets, KRP Properties was faced with needing to improve the efficiency of its buildings and, at the same time, the overall comfort of its tenants. In searching for a cost-effective solution, we realized rather quickly that standard out of the box software to manage a buildings automated control system only reported problems and errors that still required manual intervention to resolve. KRP Properties wanted more.

Instead of implementing a typical Building Automation System (BAS) upgrade to our properties, KRP Properties went in search of an integrated solution that would not only proactively deal with BAS problems and errors but would increase the efficiency of the way the building was operated and in turn increase the comfort of its tenants while at the same time reducing costs to operate the building.

Working with such technology companies as Automated Logic and Distech while pairing their experience with artificial intellect (AI) software platforms such as Switch Automation, FacilityConneX, Mango and the Noveda dashboard, among others, our buildings can now be monitored in real time on a web-based platform from anywhere at any time. This arrangement of systems is tailored to provide and combine predictive analytics with alarm systems across all buildings in which it is installed and offers a more granular level of control than traditional Building Management Systems (BMS) or Building Automation Systems (BAS).

Simply put, when a problem arises in one of these buildings, the software has the ability to run through a number of self-diagnostic exercises and push the corrective action back through the BAS, fixing the problem in seconds or minutes, thus creating a seamless level of comfort for our clients. In other words, the AI system is comprised of multiple independent systems of software platforms and hardware that speak to each other, working together to make adjustments to things such as air flow and temperature without a human having to manually make those adjustments (either physically or via software). This has not only facilitated more efficient building operations, but has allowed the KRP team to more accurately and more thoroughly report on energy consumption, planned maintenance, comfort levels etc. All this under the watchful eye of our trained building operators. This AI approach of systems is in six of our buildings to date. We plan on implementing the solution throughout our campus over time.

What’s the Benefit?

The implementation of this kind of technology has benefitted our building occupants and has proven to be both environmentally and financially sustainable. In just two of those six buildings totaling 295,000 sq ft (the two that were the pilot project, so-to-speak), we’ve consumed approximately 2 Gigawatts less power over a 36-month period when compared to operations with our previous BAS systems. The average home in Ottawa burns an estimated 8000 KWh per year, meaning we’ve saved enough energy to power 2,000 to 2,400 homes per year. Requests for adjustment of temperature conditions since employing these systems have reduced significantly. Since implementing the integrated technology, we have increased the overall comfort of our tenants, reduced the number of calls into our helpdesk, reduced our overall carbon footprint, and reduced energy costs resulting in savings in operating expenses for our tenants.

Make Your Mark

Our employees’ input has been and will continue to be crucial to KRP Properties’ planning process. KRP is privileged to have a low staff turnover rate. Many team members have been with the company and our predecessor companies for 10, 20 and even 30 years. This deep understanding of the buildings, their maintenance history and that of their occupants has proven invaluable to our success. Without this important background information, we wouldn’t be able to effectively develop and improve on existing systems.

The investment in the training and education of our staff has been instrumental in the roll out of this initiative – without these committed employees, our continued success would not be possible. We’re industry leaders in North America, largely because of our flexibility and adaptability to a changing environment. In this light, we hope to continue to educate and inspire our industry to look to technology as the solution for their building operations, with a vision of reducing our collective environmental footprint.

So, what can you do? One of the best things you can do is talk to your employer. Express your concerns and work with them to make changes around the office, including office culture. Change starts with individuals – your opinions matter.