Cornell University uses Proficy to manage facilities

  • May 01, 2014
  • GE Digital
  • Case Study
May 1, 2014 — GE Intelligent Platforms announced that Cornell University, an Ivy League higher education institution serving more than 32,000 students and staff, implemented Proficy Mobile to achieve Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) in its facilities management, which has provided 40% faster off-hours troubleshooting, increasing energy savings, reliability and equipment uptime.
Cornell, located in Ithaca, New York, manages power, water, HVAC and electrical systems to operate its 260 campus buildings, over 745 contiguous acres. With an environmental focus, the university features energy-efficient lake source cooling systems in addition to steam and power generation. Proficy Mobile delivers real-time actionable information from across these facilities systems, enhancing the university’s Proficy HMI/SCADA-iFIX solution for campus-wide monitoring and control. 
With thousands of equipment assets running 24 hours per day 7 days per week, the Cornell team emphasizes use of Proficy Mobile for off-hours troubleshooting of its complex systems and equipment, accessing through eight standard Apple iPad devices. Decisions regarding equipment assets significantly impact efficiency and energy usage. Additionally, when an asset fails, a workaround must be implemented immediately. With Proficy Mobile, the facilities team has Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) available, anywhere, anytime – which improves decision making and speeds system troubleshooting, helping to get systems back online as efficiently as possible.
“With Real-time Operational Intelligence from GE, I can see the KPIs I want – anytime,” said Chris Smalt, plant manager for Cornell University. “When an operator calls at night, I reach for the iPad with Proficy Mobile. I can see what the operator is up against and what the campus needs and immediately help with troubleshooting and decision making.” 
Using Proficy Mobile, the Cornell team can monitor operations and drill into KPIs such as electrical distribution, equipment status, how much power the university is sending or receiving from the grid, power through breakers, and more. Based on this information, managers assist operators with critical decision making to achieve problem resolution. As an example, the team must choose the right equipment based on changing weather conditions, which greatly affects energy efficiency.
“Year round, we need to maintain the best service possible to the university with the greatest energy- and cost-savings,” explained Bill Richards, senior network engineer for Cornell. “With key information at our fingertips through Proficy Mobile, we can speed troubleshooting, reduce downtime and increase energy savings.” 
Additionally, Cornell requires mobile technology that meets the university’s own high standards of service. Facilities management systems are critical to university operations, and uptime is essential. Furthermore, the team must meet government regulatory requirements for power generation, and the Proficy software eases the tracking and documentation for compliance.
“As a university and utility, we want to be on the leading edge but only through proven technology,” Richards said. “With Proficy Mobile, we can be comfortable using mobility in a reliable and secure way. Just as Cornell is a leader in academics, we’re also a leader in facilities management, making the smartest choices for energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.”
In 2014, the Cornell team plans to expand its use of Proficy Mobile to advanced alarming and analytics. The team can then filter alarms based on knowledge across systems and complex operational relationships – simplified through basic analytics. The system can help Cornell increase asset uptime by being proactive and avoiding issues before they occur.
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