Smart Building Retrofit Case Study: Penn1

Penn1 smart room area

Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by Josh Mahan

Penn1 Smart Building in New York City is a building that has undergone extensive renovations to improve its energy efficiency and suitability for hybrid work. The building is designed to be one of the most energy-efficient and innovative in the world, with several features that make it stand out from traditional office buildings. Keep reading if you’re curious to learn more about this impressive structure!

The Penn1 Smart Building

You’ll find the office building at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, immediately above Penn Station. Each day, 650,000 rail commuters and tens of thousands of subway passengers use Penn Station, the busiest station in North America. The Hudson Yard office buildings on New York’s far west side can’t compete with the Penn1 renovations’ modern corporate environment and tenant amenities.

Technology was considered the “fourth utility” after water, gas, and power in the design of Penn1, with architecture coming in second. Penn1 unifies numerous building control systems, including HVAC, lighting, alarms, and security, onto a single, intelligent network architecture that converges data and power using next-generation PoE technology that runs on DC power.

By employing DC power, energy is saved, and running costs are decreased, according to CSA Group, which is over a 45% reduction in energy waste.

For the building retrofit, Penn1 uses a 100% PoE architecture, fully integrating IT, OT, and IoT. Over 5,000 endpoints, including automated blinds, smart-powered desks, and lighting, are data providers for the network. The smart functioning with embedded sensors throughout the building really amazed me. With the aid of these sensors, power can be directed more purposefully to the appropriate locations at the appropriate times.

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Penn1 outside sign

The Modes of Penn1

There is no “stay on” mode for Penn1. Instead, it has the ability to switch between three operating modes intelligently to make sure the building is running as effectively as possible.

Occupied: Enabling frequently used spaces to be functional in order to ensure a pleasant occupier experience, including various automatic operations, such as how I saw the blinds lifting based on the number of occupants in a room and the quantity of ambient light available.

Unoccupied standby/hibernate: Penn1 rooms include a hibernate mode, similar to how a laptop cycles down while not in use. For instance, when I entered a silent, empty room, it detected my presence and lit up, ready for action. Additionally, the Webex Desk Pro in the space was connected to my laptop, enabling me to quickly join a meeting.

Scheduled “Off”: During off-peak hours and on weekends, Penn1 enters an energy-saving mode and turns off all except the most essential operations.

This is made possible by a robust infrastructure, which includes Cisco’s software-defined access solutions. These solutions improve the infrastructure by adding visibility, segmentation, policy enforcement, and ongoing trust evaluation. This opens the door for the implementation of building-wide automation and programmability using artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technology.

Related Link: 7 Key Tips for Navigating Smart Building Design

What is PoE Technology?

PoE technology is a system that delivers electrical power over Ethernet cables. It allows devices that would typically require a separate power cable, such as IP phones and WiFi access points, to be powered through the same Ethernet cable that carries data. This can simplify installation by reducing the number of cables that need to be run. PoE technology can also provide cost savings by eliminating the need for dedicated power circuits. In addition, it can provide a measure of safety by reducing the risk of electrical shock. PoE technology is an increasingly popular choice for powering networked devices, and it is sure to have a bright future.

Cisco & Smart Buildings

Cisco created Penn1 to demonstrate the potential of smart buildings and the numerous intelligent, simple, and revolutionary technologies that drive them. They even have a Smart Building Guide if you’re considering taking the next step to building your next smart building.

Related Link: 3 New Trends in Immersive Experience to Watch

Benefits of Smart Buildings

With the advent of new technology, the way we live and work is changing rapidly. One area that is seeing a lot of innovation is in the realm of smart buildings. Smart buildings are those that use technology to improve the efficiency of operations and create a better experience for occupants. There are many benefits of smart buildings, ranging from improved safety to lower energy costs. One of the most important benefits is the ability to optimize building performance. 

One way that smart buildings achieve this is through the use of sensor-based technology. Sensors can be used to detect everything from air quality and temperature to occupancy levels and noise levels. This information can then be used to adjust the building’s systems accordingly, resulting in reduced energy consumption and improved comfort levels. Additionally, smart buildings can help to reduce environmental impact by incorporating sustainable practices into their operations. From reducing waste to saving energy, smart buildings are making a positive impact on the environment. From enhanced occupant experience to improved sustainability, smart buildings are poised to revolutionize the way we live and work.

Another way that smart buildings are becoming more efficient is through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI-powered chatbots, for example, can be used to assist and answer common questions from occupants or direct them to the appropriate resource. Additionally, AI can be used to identify patterns in data that humans may not be able to see, such as maintenance issues or spikes in energy usage. 

Penn1 eating area

Penn1: A Smart Building Retrofit 

There is no doubt that smart buildings are the future of the built environment. By using technology to improve efficiency and occupant comfort, smart buildings are redefining what it means to be a “well-designed” space.

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Smart buildings are becoming more and more popular and for good reason. They can save businesses money and energy. Penn1 is a great example of how a business can retrofit an existing building to make it smarter. If you’re looking for ways to make your business more efficient, we suggest checking out our blog for more technology focused articles. 

Related Link: 5 Amazing IoT Innovations in Smart Museums

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