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Johnson Controls recently announced the launch of OpenBlue Indoor Air Quality as a Service. The new offering is an “as-a-service" IAQ solution for buildings, delivering energy-efficient, turnkey clean air outcomes with an innovative financing model. This means it can be accessed on request and as needed.

Johnson Controls executives spoke about the new service during this year’s AHR Expo. Speaking at the event, Tyler Smith, executive director of healthy buildings services and solutions for Johnson Controls, said OpenBlue is a response to the increased demand for IAQ solutions in the past two years. People now want assurances that the facilities to which they are returning are safe and healthy.

“We’ve got the pandemic to thank for learning what researchers and the health and wellness community have known for a long time, which is that indoor air quality matters in buildings,” Smith said. “We’re all semi-experts on that today.”

The entire process begins with setting a baseline, Smith said. Johnson Controls works with UL, an independent safety science company. The two use a combination of science and technology to assess IAQ, pinpoint areas of risk, and determine benchmarks and KPIs that support better IAQ, energy efficiency, and cost savings.


Optimize Energy Costs and Indoor Air Quality

Based on the results of the assessment, Johnson Controls will apply IAQ sensors, products, and services required to meet customers’ desired outcomes. OpenBlue technology breaks down data silos and delivers all IAQ information in one centralized place. This makes it easier to control devices, display IAQ data, and identify trends, helping optimize energy costs and indoor air quality levels with AI-powered recommendations for improvements.

Katie McGinty.

SOLVING TWO ISSUES: Johnson Control’s Katie McGinty said the company’s OpenBlue IAQ solution, which rolled out in February, takes a holistic approach. This both improves IAQ and lowers energy costs. (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)

A key component of OpenBlue is the ability to take a holistic approach that both improves IAQ and lowers energy costs, said Katie McGinty, Johnson Controls’ chief sustainability and external relations officer. Speaking at AHR, she said this means creating buildings that are both healthy and sustainable.

“If you just have individual efficient pieces of equipment, that’s good,” McGinty said. “Now the HVAC can talk to lighting and security. When the security system reports lower occupancy, the HVAC can throttle back the ventilation and filtration.”

To ensure desired outcomes are met, Johnson Controls will leverage its global Remote Operations Centers (ROCs) to provide 24/7 monitoring of critical IAQ values and recommendations for improvements from the company’s team of experts. Acknowledging the dynamic nature of all buildings, Johnson Controls will provide annual IAQ reassessments and work with clients to enhance their operations as needed to maximize return on their IAQ investments.


New Model

OpenBlue Indoor Air Quality as a Service will be offered through an optional, predictable monthly financing model. Through this model, customers will not have to worry about making large upfront capital decisions. Since the model is scalable, Johnson Controls can help organizations shift their operational models from being COVID-19-reactive to productivity-proactive to meet longer-term goals.

Numerous studies show there is a considerable return on investment for improving IAQ. Even a 1% improvement in air quality can have a financial impact equivalent to an average building’s annual utility bill, according to Harvard research. In addition, improved IAQ can reduce the aerosol transmission of COVID-19, acting as effectively as a population that is 50-60% vaccinated, according to peer-reviewed research published in the journal Nature.

“Johnson Controls believes the best healthy buildings strategy is a holistic one,” said Ganesh Ramaswamy, vice president and president of global services at Johnson Controls, in a release announcing the launch. “This suite of offerings delivers the market’s most comprehensive portfolio of solutions, plus expert guidance, to help customers cut building costs, raise productivity and exploit new revenue opportunities — all while delivering on their sustainability goals, resulting in healthy people, healthy places, and a healthy planet.”