Smart Buildings for Smart People

blurred images of people walking across a vast expanse of open office space


Phil Klokis  is the guest blogger for Earth Day 2014. Phil is the Associate CIO of GSA’s Public Buildings Information Technology Services. Read this guest post to learn more about the technology supporting our real estate portfolio management of 1500 owned assets, 9000 active leased assets, and nearly 350 million square feet of office space. 

Happy Earth Day! GSA uses technology to ensure sustainable workplaces for Earth Day and for every day.

Before “green” became something cool, flipping a light switch to save energy just showed common sense if someone wasn’t in the room. GSA takes this practical approach to federal buildings, lowering energy usage and consumption, repair and replacement costs while extending the life of the systems we use.

Several things happen when we put smart updates in our buildings: New jobs are created, it allows for practical design in our spaces for the type of work our customers do and it further allows investments for long-term use of federal workspaces. Creating a more sustainable government is one of GSA’s top priorities: Going green saves green.

GSA is committed to saving taxpayer dollars by helping our customers reduce energy usage and we expect our smart buildings to reduce federal energy costs by 4 percent and operating costs by 12 percent by using innovative approaches to building management.

Did you know we’ve already begun connecting our building technologies to enable this smart seamless future? In the same way your smartphone integrates the applications (email, calendar, weather, maps, etc.) you use every day, our smart building technologies integrate the tools we’re using across GSA to assess what parts of our spaces are being used and how. Some tools, like HVAC control interface systems, lighting systems, occupancy sensing, occupancy scheduling (BookIt) and others, provide opportunities for consolidation, sharing and saving.

Thanks to Realcomm and other forums, PBS is seen as a global thought leader in the smart buildings industry. Now we’re pushing thinking and innovation to the next level by building operational IT tools such as GSALink for the full building management lifecycle.

So what’s next? Smart buildings can enhance our personal security, comfort and safety through smart systems. Each IT project moves us toward automated and reliable connectivity in your workspace. Let me know what you think. How can we leverage building technology to better serve us financially, environmentally and/or operationally. I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me at