This is What a Smart, Connected Building Looks Like in 2019

Watch as Ken and I take you on a video tour of one of the Smartest Buildings we have seen!

*[WASHINGTON, June 11, 2019]*– Distech Controls, an innovation leader connecting people with intelligent building solutions, and Smart Building Technologies, LLC (SmartBT), today presented the JLL Smart Building team with the “Unified Project of the Year” award for its work transforming District Center in Washington, D.C. to a connected building that elevates the occupant experience. Given every two years by Distech Controls, the award singles out the commercial building project that best leverages connected lighting technology and intelligent building solutions.

Ken and I were at the Event on June 11. It was powerful to see what can happen when like minded smart building controls professionals come together with a common purpose. JJL, Distech , SmartBT and others created a building that integrates many diverse systems. They optimized energy and operational expenses. And at the same time created a tenet experienced  that exceeded expectations. This is not an easy feat.

We have talked on ControlTrends about

the $3-$30-$300 rule. Studies show that we spend up to $300 or more per occupant pewr square foot in a space, compared to $30 for physical assets and $3 on energy. The concept is simple but not simple to do. Find a way to make occupants happier and more productive and you can save more money.

This project addresses another trend we have been tracking, the emotional interaction occupants. This trend introduced to us by Ken Sinclair, the owner edition of automated buildings, is more and more prevalent. Younger occupants, who have grown up with controlling their world with apps, want the same control at work.

This is from one of Ken’s automated buildings articles:

The very nature of the term ‘workplace’ is being transformed, as companies begin to realize that effective space is experience-centric, and must accommodate work styles spanning generations and personality types,” said Francisco Acoba, Managing Director for Deloitte Strategy & Operations. “This ushers in new processes where IT solutions, building systems and furnishings interact harmoniously with humans to create such spaces. Regardless of your enterprise’s specific situation, when spaces become active participants in the user experience it benefits the bottom line. After all, workers who feel comfortable in a space get their tasks done. Those who don’t will eventually move on to a more inviting option.”

The offiical press release helps fill in more of the details:

District Center, located at 555 12th Street, NW in the heart of D.C.’s historic downtown, was completed in 1998. Now 20 years later, the property, encompassing an entire city block, has received a modern update from building owner MetLife Investment Management via JLL, a leading real estate services firm, to meet the demands of current and future business tenants.

“District Center is a true demonstration of the capabilities and possibilities of a connected building,” said Martin Villeneuve, President of Distech Controls. “JLL was eager to not only create a modern and sophisticated experience for the tenants and visitors of MetLife Investment Management, but they also challenged us to help them look down the road and prepare for future needs. They understood the value of a smart, connected facility that goes beyond energy efficiency by transforming a building into a strategic asset. That’s what set this project apart to earn this award.”

JLL’s Smart Building team led the project’s design and implementation with a focus on creating a flexible, scalable and resilient smart building platform. “Our clients at MetLife Investment Management recognize that an office building is more than just a place people come to work; it is a tool to improve employee productivity, engagement, innovation, and business performance more broadly,” said Yann Palmore, Vice President of JLL’s Smart Building Program. “MetLife Investment Management wanted to differentiate District Center by using technology and enabling a new suite of digital amenities for their tenants. We developed a platform that achieves these human experience goals while simultaneously driving more efficient and sustainable operations.”

Systems integrator SmartBT completed the retrofit of the nearly 820,000-square-foot property using connected building solutions from the Acuity Brands® portfolio: building management solutions from Distech Controls®, smart lighting systems from Lithonia Lighting® and digital networked lighting controls from the nLight® platform. The resulting IP-based infrastructure and integrated digital technologies made possible by MetLife Investment Management’s investment have laid a network foundation to move the renowned complex beyond a simple space. These new digital amenities take the occupant experience to a new level by providing software via a digital UI for booking rooms and other features. Further enabling the platform provides additional features such as a unified graphical user interface for analytics, insights into new energy metering strategies, indoor location services and more. “The ECLYPSE™solution from Distech Controls not only unified the building’s systems, but also scaled across the large and complex building structure,” said Paul Meng, Principal at SmartBT. “SmartBT was able to supply various operational and informational requirements as specified by JLL Smart Building.”

The result is a vibrant and interactive office building that is also one of the city’s most sustainable, boasting a LEED® Gold certification and ENERGY STAR® score in the high 80s.

A Vision for Experience: What’s Changing for Visitors, Occupants and Building Owners “The JLL Property Management team at District Center will soon be able to manage building services in a streamlined fashion, with access to real-time data, online portals to track tenant service requests and building systems to enhance operations,” said Crystal Reddick, Group Manager, Vice President at JLL. “Occupants will benefit from a digitally modernized building optimized for safety, wellness, productivity and sustainability, enabling them to use their workspace as a tool to gain competitive advantage in the future of work .”

Soon, visitors to District Center will experience new, streamlined digital registry and badge access supported by app-based information lookup processes. Occupants will be able to set the room temperature, lower the blinds or even book a meeting room from an app or wall-mounted display. The future experience for occupants at District Center will allow tenants to remotely prepare a room for a presentation.

Today’s installed technology has the power to simplify control over occupied spaces in a way that is radically different than the past. Cost reductions and energy savings are only the starting point when equipping a building with connected, digital technology. Beyond these savings, open protocol-based systems will enable building owners to choose service providers with the most competitive prices. Unified technology equips buildings with scalable technology to support the future needs of building tenants, future proofing the building infrastructure and network for upgrades and updates.

To learn more, please visit .

All trademarks referenced are property of their respective owners.

About Distech Controls

Distech Controls connects people with intelligent building solutions through our forward-thinking technologies and services. We partner with customers to deliver innovative solutions that can provide better health, better spaces, and better efficiencies. Our passion for innovation, quality and sustainability guides our business, which serves multiple market segments through worldwide business divisions, service offices and a superior network of Authorised System Integrators and Distributors. Distech Controls, Inc. is a subsidiary of Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. For more information visit

Distech Controls is a trademark of Distech Controls Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

About Acuity Brands

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) is the North American market leader and one of the world’s leading providers of lighting and building management solutions. With fiscal year 2018 net sales of $3.7 billion, Acuity Brands currently employs approximately 12,000 associates and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with operations throughout North America, and in Europe and Asia. The Company’s products and solutions are sold under various brands, including Lithonia Lighting®, Holophane®, Aculux®, American Electric Lighting®, Antique Street Lamps™, Atrius™, DGLogik™, Distech Controls®, DTL®, eldoLED®, Gotham®, Healthcare Lighting®, Hydrel®, Indy™, IOTA®, Juno®, Lucid®, Mark Architectural Lighting™, nLight®, Peerless®, RELOC® Wiring, ROAM®, Sensor Switch®, Sunoptics® and Winona® Lighting. Visit us at

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Our vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we will build a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.3 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of over 91,000 as of March 31, 2019. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit .

Media Contact:

Monica Sanchez



Contact Information

Monica Sanchez

Acuity Brands



I think you will agree , this is great demonstartion of what is possible in smart building controls. Congratulations to all involved.


3 Responses

  1. The lighting technology application is very interesting and brings a world of possibilities. Hopefully the featured technology is open and not proprietary in regards to only acuity or distech. Would be interested in knowing what data aggragation platform is used for all of the data.
    Nice job on the implementation and for sharing with all of us.

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