Meet the smart campus that could become a model for smart cities

At the Council, we define a smart city as one that uses information and communications technology to make itself more livable, workable and sustainable. But what does that look like? You will soon find a model at the Cary, NC, headquarters of SAS.

Sure, it’s not a city, but the 24-building campus demonstrates how renewable energy, smart buildings and analytics can work together to build a thriving community. The goals of the campus mirror the ambitious goals that many cities have.

For instance, more than a hundred U.S. cities now plan to get all of their power from renewable sources within the next few decades. As you’ll read below, some of the buildings on the SAS campus will get about half their power from on-site solar farms.

And the solutions are similar too.

Sensors in the buildings will transmit energy usage information every 10 seconds into an analytics platform that will help managers optimize the performance of the facilities. Even waste bins will report on when they need to be emptied so that they are never too full or dumped unnecessarily.

Smart meters allow cities to help businesses and residents conserve more effectively and waste bin sensors help cities to be much more efficient in collecting trash. Get inspired by the story below and then use our free Smart Cities Readiness Guide to get started in your city. — Kevin Ebi


Building on its corporate sustainability leadership and Internet of Things (IoT) technology prowess, SAS is taking steps to establish a “smart campus” at its Cary, NC, headquarters. Through SAS’ advanced, real-time analytics, the smart campus project will improve energy usage while proactively monitoring equipment performance to boost operational longevity. Starting with a handful of buildings, two on-site solar farms, and select waste containers, the project will eventually span across most of the 24 buildings on campus.

“Analytics should be one of the cornerstones of smart city management,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “Using our own analytics to help us operate more efficiently and identify ways to make improvements on our campus has additional value for our customers. It gives us firsthand insight into how we can help them navigate their own smart city-related initiatives with products and best practices that will help them be successful.”

Smart buildings guide smarter decisions
The smart campus IoT project provides direct access to data from equipment and energy meters connected to a building management system. Using SAS® Visual Analytics, the company will analyze the data gathered from this system to improve operational efficiencies. In addition, SAS Event Stream Processing will be used to analyze the streaming data, capture that data and trigger alerts in real time. As the project progresses, data from other sub-meters, wireless sensors and smart-enabled devices will also be analyzed to identify opportunities for improvement.

SAS anticipates this pilot program will illuminate relationships between the overall system and its components to help pinpoint drivers of electricity consumption. Ultimately this will translate into finding ways to reduce costs while benefiting the environment. Knowledge derived from the pilot will also support R&D initiatives, as well as hone SAS IoT solutions.

Brady Services, a regional HVAC and building services company, has played an important role in supporting SAS’ smart campus efforts by providing industry expertise on implementing building solutions. “For 40 years, we’ve helped build efficient structures at SAS’ North Carolina headquarters,” said Jim Brady, CEO and President of Brady. “We’ve just taken that relationship to another level. We’re excited to work with SAS to change how they manage and operate their campus, optimize their buildings’ performance and drive the desired business outcomes in the digital age.”

Wireless energy tracking elevates operations
SAS is also deploying hundreds of wireless sensors to track interval energy consumption in buildings. Transmitting data every 10 seconds, data from these sensors will be analyzed to improve facility operations and energy management. Detailed usage and historical data will help SAS better understand operations, monitor environmental conditions and benchmark energy consumption.

Finding intelligence in our dumpsters
The dumpsters at SAS world headquarters are getting smarter too. Sensors placed in trash and cardboard dumpsters will deliver hourly volume data, so the company can adjust waste and recycling services. With this information, SAS can accurately measure waste and recycling, eliminate unused dumpsters and reduce pick-up schedules – therefore decreasing operational expenses.

Brighter future with solar farm updates
SAS’ solar farms are also seeing improvements that will increase efficiency. By late June, most of the panels on Solar Farm 2 will be replaced with newer, higher-capacity panels, while old panels will be recycled. Upgrades to monitoring and communication systems for Solar Farms 1 and 2 will provide more granular data for use in SAS Visual Analytics, plus real-time data to use with SAS Event Stream Processing.

Building A, currently scheduled for completion in early 2019, will be the first office building on campus with almost half of its power supplied by a renewable resource. The 1.7 megawatt hours produced annually by Solar Farm 1 will provide about 45 percent of the electricity needed for the newest campus structure, which will house SAS’ Collaboration and Learning Center.