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CBRE|ESI Delivers Complex Systems Integration at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — November 7, 2016 — The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (WID) serves as a hub for interdisciplinary research on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. In collaboration with a team of stakeholders, CBRE|ESI created an intelligent, adaptive building systems architecture to ensure the facility would evolve to meet the needs of scientific research for the next 100 years. A leading systems integrator and provider of energy management services, Brookfield, Wis.-based CBRE|ESI is a member of The InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance, an international alliance of independent building automation contractors.

Research conducted at the WID spans disciplines from biotechnology, to nanotechnology, to information technologies, with the goal of developing new biomedical treatments and technological applications aimed at improving human health and welfare. From concept to completion, the design of the 300,000-square-foot building was intended to create an environment that would advance important, one-of-a-kind scientific research.

“Transformational in vision and desired impact, there were few previous examples or roadmaps for those involved in making the Institutes a reality. The extensive nature of this project required the integration of numerous disparate subsystems, allowing for communication across platforms,” said Paul Oswald, managing director of CBRE|ESI. “Regardless of who manufactured the lab temperature monitor or the solar hot water system, all systems needed to be integrated to ensure sustainability and efficiency goals were met.”

Examples of the integration required include water reclamation, power usage, and lighting levels, fume hood controls and shades, among many other systems. To achieve the WID’s goals of significantly reducing energy and water usage compared to a typical UW-Madison research facility, project planners felt scientists would need ready access to information and energy consumption data. As a result, The CBRE|ESI integration provides WID stakeholders with the ability to retrieve data across platforms, enabling them to unlock islands of information, measure the impact of their actions within the facility and thereby manage its consumption patterns.

Furthermore, the integrated building automation system (BAS) architecture eliminated redundant user interfaces to reduce or eliminate licensing fees and corresponding training costs. Integrated control strategies were designed to increase energy efficiency and optimize operations. The architecture also provides a platform for advanced software applications, such as fault detection diagnostics and energy benchmarking and analysis, which will have a positive impact on facility operations.

“Creating a building designed to evolve over the next 100 years certainly is unusual,” said Scott Derby, president of the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance and vice president of Buffalo, N.Y.-based SmartEdge. “By trusting in the insight and expertise of a member of InsideIQ like CBRE|ESI, the WID research facility obtained a sophisticated, adaptive BAS that integrates all the independent subsystems in order to achieve sustainability and energy efficiency goals. InsideIQ members are adept at applying the latest BAS technology and integrating systems to create efficient, interoperable facilities.”

The systems integration completed by CBRE|ESI has impacted WID facility operations through:
- Initial cost avoidance by using an integrated system architecture versus separate systems
- Building life-cycle cost savings through reduced software and system support because of the integrated building system architecture
-Operational savings through a single user interface and integrated information

According to George Austin, WARF’s Project Director for the development of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, CBRE|ESI’s flexibility, staffing and technical capacity played a significant role in delivering on their promise of a successful integrated building system. “CBRE|ESI understood fundamentally what we were trying to achieve here,” Austin said. “We definitely benefited from having their expertise at the table during what we called the co-development process, which involved numerous stakeholders’ ideas and needs. CBRE|ESI proved it could listen to the needs of scientists, project developers and a multitude of other stakeholders. Equally impressive is their ability to translate those big ideas into plans that could be implemented.”

About InsideIQ

InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance is an organization comprised of independent commercial building and facility automation companies representing common automation and security system platforms. Our member firms across North America, Europe and Australia share best practices among more than 5,000 employees at over 100 locations. Members specialize in the design and implementation of facilities and process control systems, systems integration, enterprise security systems, facilities maintenance services, energy services, and the representation of other value-added products and services. The largest independent organization of its kind, InsideIQ member companies provide consistent applications, coordination, and support for commercial facility owners. More information is available online at


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