This week, Cisco Canada and Schneider Electric Canada announced a strategic partnership at the Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology in Vaughan, ON, that will see the two companies create new opportunities in the development new energy efficient buildings and communities across Canada. The venue was appropriate to make the announcement because both companies have worked with the Earth Rangers organization on the technology and building systems that make the centre one of the most energy efficient in Canada.
The partnership between Schneider and Cisco is significant because it shows two companies working together to achieve similar goals. Traditionally, IT systems account for a large part of an organization’s energy spend and a collaboration between companies like Cisco and Schneider could mean much more efficient datacentre and IT designs.
In attendance at the announcement was the mayor of Vaughan, Maurizio Bevilacqua, who kicked off the presentations with an introduction highlighting the importance of sustainable building practices and ensuring we act as stewards of our environment.
Alan Taaffe, director of buildings business at Schneider Electric, spoke about the new partnership between Schneider Electric and Cisco in Canada, saying the collaboration will be incredible because the energy business has changed dramatically over the last 10 years: “…we need data from customers to help them realize their energy savings goals, which means the network now becomes even more critical to our solutions as we build out different applications for customers. So partnering with a global specialist in network efficiency makes perfect sense for our two organizations.”
“We look at this really as a launching point for our organizations to get together: greater collaboration, bringing more value to customers,” Taaffe said.
We know Cisco’s interest lately has been in the Internet of Things (or the Internet of Everything as Cisco puts it), and Rick Huijbregts, General Manager of Cisco Canada’s Smart+Connected Communities business expanded on how that plays into this announcement.
“We really think technology and sustainability have become synonymous,” Huijbregts said. “When we look at the world with more and more connections, and more dependency on technology, all the devices connected to the Internet can be monitored, managed and optimized through technology and therefore we see the two really coming together.”
In a blog posted after the announcement, Huijbregts expanded on what Canadians can expect from the partnership: “Schneider Electric and Cisco believe conservation efforts will build a route to a sustainable future. Schneider Electric has developed solutions to address this growing demand, while we’ve been working hard at Cisco to develop sustainable technologies to show people that technology can work for the environment, and not against it.”
Those principles are also being put into practice by the Earth Rangers, who will be using Cisco’s telepresence technology to connect with kids all around the country — helping them educate on sustainability and promote their message.
As Peter Kendall, executive director of Earth Rangers explained, other technology will help the Earth Rangers meet their own goals of creating an even more environmentally friendly building.
“With the generous support of Cisco and Schneider Electric we’re introducing new technology that will ensure we remain at the leading edge of sustainable technologies for years to come,” Kendall said. “This new technology will let us introduce integrated solutions like dynamically shutting down printers, monitors and IT loads when the building is unoccupied. It will also provide increased bandwidth to allow for more responsive control of our building systems and enable innovative collaboration with our members and stakeholders right around the world.”
The Earth Ranger’s building was conceived to be 63% more energy efficient than the building code, but through constant refinement and new projects like using solar and geo-thermal energy, the building today is closer to 90% more efficient than code. With LEED Platinum certification and energy usage under 9kW per square foot, the Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology is one of the most energy efficient buildings in Canada.
Check out the video below for interviews with Cisco and Schneider Electric and a tour of the Earth Rangers Centre, demonstrating how some of its sustainable technology actually works.