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    The smart aquarium

    The story behind the Shedd Aquarium, a smart, sustainable facility that connects people to animals.

    • Using technology to connect people to animals. John G. Shedd Aquarium Case Study

      Creating and maintaining environments where people connect to animals

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      The challenge

      A gift from John G. Shedd to the city of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium is currently home to more than 1,500 species, including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects from all over the world. 

      Meeting the diverse needs of visitors, staff, and more than 32,500 animals poses unique challenges, including the creation of environments that are comfortable for each of those populations at all times.

      Additionally, in 2013, the aquarium committed to an ambitious goal of cutting energy consumption in half by 2020.  Achieving that goal meant conducting extensive research and analysis to identify problem areas. The gathered data would be key in creating cost-effective, sustainable, and energy-efficient solutions that could also address ongoing, daily issues such as building security, lighting control, and overall system management and automation.


      The solution

      The Schneider Electric Building Management System (BMS) allows Shedd Aquarium to manage everything inside the building, from lighting, via life support systems, to HVAC. It essentially keeps the guests, the animals, and the staff safe and comfortable.

      Through detailed mapping of the BMS, Building Analytics evaluates all equipment that’s under the BMS’s control, looks for faults in process, maintenance, and repair, and then prioritizes those based on an energy savings value.

      Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) are used for water, HVAC, as well as for life support systems to control loads. They can also be used for demand response and frequency regulation.
      Last but not least, a turnkey solar solution with 265KW of solar panels installed on the roof of the Oceanarium generates clean, renewable energy, and reduces energy costs.

      “The end goal for Shedd Aquarium is to connect people to animals, and for facilities it’s to get that facility ready because the place where it happens is right here: in this building.”
      Robert P. Wengel, Vice President of Facilities, Shedd Aquarium

      Schneider Electric Solutions and Key facts

      Schneider Electric Solutions Installed:

      • Building Analytics cloud-hosted managed service
      • Power Manager Module
      • Andover Continuum™ Controls System including three CyberStation Workstations
      • Pelco™ 9760 CCTV System
      • GT250 Solar Inverter
      • Powerlink™ Lighting
      • PowerLogic™ Metering


      • Environmental Control
      • Aquatic Life Support Control
      • Ozone Control
      • Electrical Metering
      • Lighting
      • Variable Frequency Drives
      • Security Management:
        - Security Monitoring
        - Access Control
        - CCTV Video System
        - Badging

      Key facts: 

         - Energy cost avoidance
         - More than 480,000 sq ft of building
         - Energy road map
         - Fine-tuning systems and equipment to save energy
         - Fault detection and diagnostics
         - Meaningful Analytics
         - Prioritized actions associated with measurable ROI

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      Project Snapshots

      • Default Alternative Text Halve energy use by 2020
      • Default Alternative Text Energy partnership
      • Default Alternative Text Maintaining environments
      • Default Alternative Text 913 solar panels
      • Default Alternative Text Intelligent control
      • Default Alternative Text 4,500 monitoring points