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GCN : August 2013
30 GCN AUGUST 2013 • GCN.COM As the population in met- ropolitan regions con- tinues to swell --- 82 percent of Americans now live in cities --- energy efficiency and water conservation are becoming critical aspects of many cities' sus- tainability programs. Cities large and small are looking for ways to make their infrastructures more environmentally friendly and in- crease the quality of life for their residents while at the same time adapting to a climate of limited resources. A way forward for many cities might be to follow the examples of Seattle and Dubuque, Iowa, which are harnessing the power of cloud computing, big data ana- lytics and predictive analysis to improve how they manage critical resources while saving citizens and their municipalities' money. Seattle has forged a partner- ship with Microsoft and Accen- ture aimed at reducing power consumption through real-time data analysis of different types of buildings in the city's down- town area. Dubuque, on the other hand, conducted pilot studies with IBM using data analytics from smart meters to help citizens and the city monitor water con- sumption and electricity usage. Though different in size and character, both cities offer a model for how others can deploy smart technology to unlock rich data sets that will help them to make better decisions about criti- cal resources. SEATTLE: LESS (POWER) IS MORE Seattle has a deep legacy in clean energy and conservation as a user of hydroelectric power for more than 100 years. As one of the fast- est growing cities in the United States, though, the demand for power continues to rise. Rather than augmenting power with un- clean or unsafe energy sources, the city has chosen the conserva- tion path, in this case managing energy usage in buildings within the city. But how do you do this when building property owners don't have the resources or don't want to spend money on retrofitting buildings to make them more en- ergy-efficient? Could cloud tech- nologies, predictive software and analytics tools help the city make buildings smarter? Microsoft, which had applied those technologies on its own campus and achieved energy sav- ings of 10 percent, proposed do- ing the same for Seattle by lever- aging the Microsoft Azure cloud and predictive analytics to har- ness the volumes of data gener- ated by disparate building man- agement systems and sensors, said Brian Surrat, deputy director of Seattle's Office of Economic Development. Microsoft, Accenture and the city recently launched an energy- management pilot powered by the Azure cloud platform across four buildings in Seattle's down- town business core. In addition, the city consulted Seattle City Light, the local electric utility, and the Seattle 2030 District, a nonprofit consisting of 90 down- town building owners. The pilot includes a mix of buildings rep- resenting a cross section of uses, including the Seattle Municipal Tower, Sheraton Hotel, a Boeing manufacturing facility, and the University of Washington School of Medicine'. The goal is to generate savings of between 10 and 25 percent for both energy and maintenance ex- penditures with the view of more buildings adopting smarter tech- nologies for energy efficiency. Azure provides storage for tera- bytes of real-time data. Microsoft SQL Server offers the data servic- es for processing real-time analy- sis while the company's Share- Point Server 2013 provides the reporting portal where building managers can monitor the energy efficiency of their facilities, said Seattle, Dubuque harness power of cloud, big data, predicative analysis for water conservation and energy e ciency. CITIES PUT BIG DATA TO WORK ON ENERGY CONSERVATION CITES OF BIG DATA CASE STUDY BY RUTRELL YASIN