A global market transition is motivating the real-estate industry to provide places to work and live that are more environmentally sustainable. Much of the focus has been on “greening” the building location, the architectural design, and the building systems. In addition, many buildings are being architected and retrofitted to support changing work styles and lifestyles.

Cisco believes that integrated networking and collaboration technologies can have a demonstrable impact on the environmental performance of buildings and building complexes wherever they are built. We have launched initiatives to make commercial buildings better places to work, as well as more economical to operate, easier to manage, and friendlier to the environment. These include Cisco Connected Workplace, Cisco Connected Real Estate, and energy-efficient data centers.


Cisco Connected Workplace

As a building owner and employer, Cisco is demonstrating in our own facilities that a more flexible, environmentally friendly workspace can increase productivity and employee satisfaction while also reducing costs. Typically Cisco’s meeting rooms are overbooked, while offices and cubicles remain vacant for up to 65 percent of the time. To address these inefficiencies, Cisco Connected Workplace combines collaborative and networking technologies with an open floor plan and an emphasis on mobility, thereby reconciling productive working patterns with environmental responsibility.

Cisco Connected Workplace increases workplace efficiency and has enabled a 40 percent increase in employees assigned per 100,000-square-foot office space, which has a significant impact on the need for and cost of real estate and benefits the environment by reducing new construction.

Reducing the number of devices in the workspace has the quantifiable benefit of reducing power consumption. In one building at Cisco, the Connected Workplace implementation resulted in 50 percent fewer Ethernet ports, significantly fewer shared devices such as printers and copiers, a higher density of wireless access points, and the elimination of stationary personal appliances in the workspace. The table below gives an estimate of the power savings based on a Connected Workplace pilot at Cisco headquarters (see sidebar).

Estimated Energy Efficiency Gains with Connected Workplace
  Traditional Office Cisco Connected Workplace Percent Change
Number of employees 300 400 33% increase
Connected electrical load (watts/square foot) 2.6 1.7 36% reduction
Connected electrical load (watts/employee) 432.9 178.7 58% reduction
Total connected electrical load (watts) 127,169 71,476 44% reduction
Total cooling loads (BTUs) 433,646 243,733 44% reduction
Total cooling provision tonnage 36 20 44% reduction

Other benefits: With 22 percent fewer electronic devices per employee and 54 percent less cabling, the Connected Workplace generates less electronic waste. Reducing the need for cabling also means less toxic PVC cable cladding and less demand for virgin copper.

In addition, an analysis by independent sustainability consultant WSP Environment & Energy has demonstrated that the decrease in office space per employee, if applied to a 100,000-square-foot office space, could save 1500 tons of concrete, 280 tons of steel, and 2850 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 560 passenger cars off the road for a year.

A Cisco Connected Workplace Environment in San Jose

Cisco set out to implement a Cisco Connected Workplace environment in a building that gives employees there a broad choice of where and how to work. Cisco Connected Workplace is based on a university model, with both open public areas and enclosed spaces. To facilitate mobility, the environment was designed for wireless communications, with 60 percent fewer wired jacks than a standard building.

Designers settled on four basic types of workspaces:

  • Individual workstations consist of docking stations for laptops and a Cisco IP phone, which employees personalize with their phone number and preferences. Employees can also use softphones on their laptops.
  • Collaboration spaces include formal spaces that have doors for privacy and are equipped with speakerphones and, in some cases, IP video conferencing stations. Informal meeting spaces can be created using seating on wheels, mobile tables, and portable privacy screens.
  • A quiet space or “library” lets employees work without distractions.
  • A laboratory area supports engineering activities and associated equipment.

In addition to using the various workspaces from day to day, employees often move among the spaces throughout the day.

We are rolling out Cisco Connected Workplace across our real estate portfolio. The San Jose campus alone has more than 500,000 square feet devoted to this open work environment. This workspace supports more than 3000 people, approximately 12 percent of the local workforce.

Read more about the results achieved by Cisco Connected Workplace and other initiatives implemented in Cisco facilities:

Sustainable Company Operations

Cisco Connected Real Estate

Controlling 1000 State Buildings Across Missouri

The State of Missouri was spending $300 million annually to operate and maintain some 32 million square feet of space in approximately 1000 buildings. Rising costs for energy and real estate plus an ever-increasing backlog of deferred maintenance were continually driving up expenses. In 2005 the state announced that it planned to reduce its energy consumption by 15 percent by 2010.

To accomplish this energy-efficiency objective and meet its environmental sustainability goals, the state determined that it would need a real estate asset management solution linking all the buildings statewide. The State of Missouri Enterprise Asset Management project, begun in December 2006 and deployed throughout 2007, is considered the most comprehensive initiative of its kind in North America,—in terms of both scope and results.

The new system enables the state to manage buildings from a central location, making it easier to analyze data from all the sites in Missouri, identify maintenance needs, and more effectively direct the activities of facilities managers. It also gives the state the information needed to identify inefficiencies, avoid unnecessary energy use, and reduce associated carbon emissions.

Cisco network solutions play an important role in the Enterprise Asset Management system. With all of its building control and utility data streaming over a shared network, the state is able to take control of all facets of its building portfolio, generate significant savings, and accurately calculate its carbon footprint.

Major results of the State of Missouri Enterprise Asset Management project to date:

  • Combined savings of more than $35 million a year
  • Expected return on investment of about one year
  • Significant reduction in emissions that cause climate change and acid rain: more than 205 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 307,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and 583,000 pounds of sulfur oxides

Cisco Connected Real Estate is a framework for transforming the network into an intelligent part of the building infrastructure. Greater accessibility to data from all building systems enables building managers to improve efficiency and enhance operations performance.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, commercial buildings account for:

  • 70 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption
  • 39 percent of total U.S. primary energy use
  • 39 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions
  • 136 million tons of U.S. construction and demolition waste
  • 40 percent of raw materials used globally

Cisco Connected Real Estate solutions help alleviate these negative environmental impacts by:

  • Improving energy efficiency with better management systems
  • Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by using less energy
  • Consolidating office space requirements
  • Reducing consumption of materials and equipment
  • Reducing office and electronic waste

Connected Real Estate solutions produce cost savings by enabling building developers, owners, and managers to monitor and control all building information systems using a single IP network. Employers are also better able to provide flexible, customized workspaces for their employees, and building owners can realize higher income by tailoring buildings to the requirements of each tenant.

A study commissioned by the Converged Buildings Technology Group, a consortium of building system manufacturers, found that a converged-network approach to building management can generate capital savings of 24 percent during the building construction phase, and reduce operating expenses by 30 percent over the life of a building. Additional research conducted by WSP Environment & Energy in FY08 analyzed energy and operational cost savings before and after implementation of intelligent building management solutions. The evaluation identified typical annual energy savings of 15 percent per building.

The diagram below illustrates how the various components of the Connected Real Estate solution fit together.

Chart detailing value created with Cisco Connected Real Estate

For more about Cisco Connected Real Estate, go to:

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