Corporate Headquarters Case Study: Across The Board

A global headquarters campus in Glendale, WI undergoes a major overhaul including an expansion that employed technology and sustainability to move operations to the next level.
A global headquarters campus in Glendale, WI undergoes a major overhaul including an expansion that employed technology and sustainability to move operations to the next level.

Corporate Headquarters Case Study: Across The Board

Corporate Headquarters Case Study: Across The Board

By Anne Cosgrove
Published in the June 2012 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Despite adding 160,000 square feet to this headquarters campus, energy consumption has been reduced by 21%.

Maximizing resources is a common theme these days, whether the matter at hand is money, energy, or human capital. Against this backdrop, the facility an organization occupies day in and day out is a significant piece of the puzzle. How a company’s buildings and grounds support its core mission is crucial to consider, and when Johnson Controls, Inc. set out to expand and renovate its global headquarters in Glendale, WI, the in-house project leaders did just that.

In sharing some of the drivers behind the campus wide expansion, Ward Komorowski, director of facilities and building services for Johnson Controls (and TFM’s 2005 Facility Executive of the Year), says, “The business was growing, and with that in mind as well as the values that support our business, we elected to look at what we could do to the campus. This involved our corporate headquarters facilities, along with our Power Solutions business. The project was about implementing sustainability, innovation, continuous improvements, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement—and really coming down to shareholder value.”

A Chat With Ward Komorowski
Director of Facilities and Building Services
Johnson Controls, Inc.

Ward Komorowski, Director of Facilities and Building Services, Johnson Controls, Inc.

What are your responsibilities at Johnson Controls? How long have you worked for the company? On July 19, I will be celebrating my 30th year here. My responsibilities include facilities management globally, so I manage all of the operations, maintenance, and janitorial needs for the headquarters facilities, as well as our data centers around the world.

During your tenure in facilities management, what are some of the notable changes in the industry that have impacted your work? AutoCAD was a big development. I started out as a draftsperson, and we didn’t computer generate any drawings at that time. AutoCAD provided the ability to do that. And that led to BIM [building information modeling], which allows us to take that data and put it in an “XYZ” quadrant to be able to analyze buildings during construction, so we can identify issues before they arise.

But more broadly, it has been computers and technology, and mobile devices and web enabled devices. We used to have building control centers, and someone would sit in the room in front of all of these panels. We don’t do that anymore. The building can “talk” to me on my phone. All of the sensors we have installed in the building enable us to identify problems before I get calls. It’s about productivity.

Johnson Controls’ involvement in the facilities industry—working with organizations around the world to optimize their energy and operational efficiencies—also meant this headquarters project would strive to include practices and technologies that would result in a more efficient, comfortable, and sustainable workplace.

In Fall 2009, the company celebrated the completion of its revamped headquarters campus. A nearly two year process, the changes at the 33 acre complex were broad and deep. The project involved renovating two buildings (totaling 160,000 square feet) and constructing three new structures (nearly 150,000 square feet of interior space and a four story parking garage).

Komorowski worked with the company’s director of headquarters building projects, Debrah K. Vander Heiden, AIA, throughout the entire process. “The role of our team was to be involved from strategy to design to construction, and now to manage it,” he explains.

“Each day was challenging but rewarding at the same time,” continues Komorowski. “We used the integrated design approach, so my facilities team was engaged in this project from the beginning to the end. It was very exciting for them. Meanwhile, it was challenging for the occupants, because they were working in a major construction project. One way we kept employees informed was to send out updates explaining what areas of the facility would be affected when.”

To keep things running smoothly and safely during the construction project, the team needed to plan how employees would work throughout the process. A major move involved the employees of the company’s Power Solutions business; for the duration of construction, they moved off campus to leased space.

“Power Solutions was relocated at the beginning of the project, it was last to move back,” explains Komorowski. “The goal was to move those employees once. We had no swing space to work with, so we elected to move them out at the start.”

Strategies employed in the project resulted in the campus achieving LEED Platinum certification in September 2010. Not only did this help the company reduce its environmental impact, but it has also enabled leadership there to evaluate the performance of the technologies and materials used for the project.

Workplace Productivity And Comfort

Site changes have encouraged wildlife to flourish on campus. (Photo: Johnson Controls, Inc.)

In updating how its facilities support the work of employees, the Johnson Controls team focused on several aspects: modifying physical layout; expanding the use of technology for comfort and productivity; and adding amenities via a new employee building (containing a cafeteria, fitness center, and meeting rooms) as well as with walking paths and outdoor patios.

Employee spaces were configured to provide a more open atmosphere (the layout changed from about 50% private offices and 50% workstations to 10% private offices and 90% workstations).

Opening up the work areas coincided with the aim of incorporating daylight harvesting in the buildings. “We added a lot of windows to provide daylighting and views,” explains Komorowski, “but we also had to take into consideration the occupant. We placed workstations 6′ to 10′ away from windows in order to form an aisleway along the perimeter. However, this creates a situation that when the sun is low, heat may enter the facility.”

To address the issue of unwanted heat gain, shades with automated controls were installed. And to ensure this system delivered on its potential, planning involved using GPS technology to “locate” the facility and identify where true north would be in relation to the building.

Komorowski explains, “Using that data, we programmed the shades to track the sun. It doesn’t matter if it’s six in the morning in December or six in the morning in June; we know exactly where the sun will be and can program how the shades will be positioned accordingly. This enables us to maintain desired comfort levels and indoor environmental quality.”

The automated window shade system is one example of how Johnson Controls uses automation to save energy and improve comfort. Another technology directly impacting employees is control of their workstations, including task lighting, heating/cooling, and soundmasking.

Motion detectors protect the solar field from intruders. (Photo: Johnson Controls, Inc.)

Having installed these controls a decade ago in the company’s Brengel Technology Center in Milwaukee, Komorowski advocated for the personal controls in this project. “Everyone has his or her own opinion on what is satisfactory from a comfort standpoint,” he says. “Giving people control of their workstations really reduces the hot/cold calls we receive. This allows us to focus on preventive rather than reactive maintenance. It’s about productivity for both occupants and facilities management.”

But the personal controls do not just benefit employees. Occupancy sensors are installed on the lighting components, so Komorowski and his team can track energy usage at each desk. “Using that information, we can analyze the utilization factor for the workstations,” he explains. “We can see when the space is used and how often a desk or office is occupied. You’d be amazed at some of the numbers we get; the average occupancy of a workstation is 39% of the time. So these automation tools help us make sound strategic decisions.”

He continues, “People don’t often think about the workplace of the future as necessarily involving green technologies, but changing how you work to reduce density level and to be able to fit more people in a smaller facility by changing the way you work, that can result in less real estate to build, less materials to ship, and less energy heat and cool the building.”

Taking The Lead

When it comes to green building projects, it is often said it is vital to get the entire project team on board from the beginning. Komorowski and his team adhered to that belief, and he credits the holistic approach as a major contributing factor to achieving LEED Platinum. “Pursuing LEED certification encourages everyone to be involved much sooner in the process, because there is so much interconnection between the different environmental credits,” says Komorowski.

He says early planning was especially important because of the use of BIM, which involves three-dimensional software to provide design and construction data shared by all project team members.

For his part, when it came to choosing green strategies, Komorowski had definite ideas. “One of the items I wanted to see on site was solar—both photovoltaic and thermal systems,” he says. Supplementing the campus energy use are monocrystalline and thin film photovoltaic systems, while the solar thermal equipment saves about 2,800 therms of energy per year.

On the energy front, geothermal is also in use on the campus. A geothermal heat pump linked to 272 wells, dug 300′ deep, helps improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems on campus.

The geothermal energy system reduces chiller operating costs by 23%. (Photo: Johnson Controls, Inc.)

Significant water related measures are also in place, and much of this is focused on capturing rainwater. A 30,000 gallon cistern collects this resource from the roofs of the new buildings on campus, and that water is used for toilet and urinal flushing. This practice reduces water use by 77%, or 595,000 gallons per year.

Other water conservation strategies include creating rain gardens for natural filtration of stormwater to the site’s acquifer. And using native and adaptive plants for landscaping minimizes the need for watering. Permeable pavement was used to resurface an existing three acre parking lot. Meanwhile, two types of green roofs were installed—a built up roof and a tray system. Notes Komorowski, “The green roofs also contribute to additional energy savings by providing more insulation for those buildings.”

In evaluating the many options for sustainable strategies, the project team took a bundled approach. Komorowski explains, “When selecting strategies based on their individual return on investment, the payback times were often very long. For instance, in this region, photovoltaics has a long payback. So we put together a package of strategies for which payback periods ranged from one to 18 years. By bundling them, we were able to show management a return on investment of about 8.75 years on the green technologies.”

One thing considered that did not make the cut was the use of on-site wind turbines. Komorowski says, “We had an anemometer on one of our buildings to measure wind for years. And that information led us to determine that wind was not a good choice. That doesn’t mean the payback wouldn’t be acceptable for someone in Lafayette, IN, where the winds are more active, but it didn’t work here.”

Technology As Linchpin

In order to establish and operate an infrastructure that would provide comfort to occupants, while also reducing energy and water use, the Johnson Controls team turned to technology. The campus already operated using a building automation system (BAS) to track and analyze operations data, but the campus expansion presented the opportunity to make the new facilities even more efficient.

The current BAS contains more than 40,000 points to monitor operations throughout the campus. This system can be used to view activities across the facilities and provides a single point of access to key performance indicators.

Komorowski’s access to data has gone even further with the addition of a cloud based tool that enables him to collect data from multiple building systems throughout the company’s entire facility portfolio. The system’s capabilities also include fault detection and performance trends.

“This allows me to access and use our building data in ways that really enable me to see what’s going on and examine how we can improve conditions in all facilities,” he says. And he notes that the integration of the building systems and the information technology (IT) infrastructure into one network is an important part of the company’s strategy for sustainability.

All of this expanded automation means that facility management tasks are intertwined with IT infrastructure more than ever. As a result, Komorowski has increasingly more interaction with the IT staff to ensure the needs of both departments are met. At the very least, there are weekly meetings. “It’s a very close relationship now,” he says.

But it works both ways. “The data center on this campus occupies about 1.5% of the square footage, but it consumes 35% of the power we use,” explains Komorowski. “So being able to monitor IT?gear and server racks and the operational efficiencies is important to me.

“The technology, communication, and the merger between facilities and IT is a definite trend,” says Komorowski. “The middleware being developed to be able to merge those systems to get good information continues to gain importance.”

Satisfied Customers

Approaching three years in the expanded campus, Komorowski continues to find ways to use the tools available to him to improve the facility. “Our job is to provide a safe, comfortable, sustainable, economical environment,” he says. “The technology enables us to provide a better environment, which raises expectations. It’s very exciting to be able to do this.”

This article was based on an interview with Komorowski (


Project Information:


Name of Organization: Johnson Controls, Inc. Type of Facility: Renovation and new construction. Function of Facility: Global headquarters. Location: Glendale, WI. Square Footage: 306,359. Budget: $72 million (original job construction). Construction Timetable: Fall 2007 to Fall 2009. Facility Owner: Johnson Controls, Inc. In-House Facility Management: Ward Komorowski, director of facilities and building services; Debrah K. Vander Heiden, AIA, director of HQ building projects. Architect/LEED Consultant: Gensler. General Contractor/Construction Manager: Hunzinger Construction Company; CGSchmidt (demolition). Electrical Engineer: Leedy & Petzold Associates, LLC. Mechanical Engineer: Ring & DuChateau. Structural Engineer: Harwood Engineering Consultants. Interior Designer: Gensler; Johnson Controls Global Workplace Solutions. Lighting Designer: Radiant Design. Landscape Architect: Conservation Design Forum.


Product Information:

Furniture: Steelcase. Flooring: Haworth. Carpet: Milliken. Ceilings: USG. Paint: Atlas. Movable Walls: Skyfold Partitions. Office Equipment: Ikon; Nortel; Polycom Speaker Phones. Building Management System: Johnson Controls (Metasys). CAFM and/or CMMS Software: IBM Maximo. Security System Components: Johnson Controls (Site Manager and P2000). Fire System Components: Johnson Controls. Lighting Products: Lutron (Quantum, with EcoSystem). HVAC Equipment: Johnson Controls. Power Supply Equipment: Cummins (generators); Cutler-Hammer (switchgear, distribution panels); Kohler (generators); Square D (switchgear). IT Infrastructure: Systimax (certified Category 6 cabling). Roofing: Sarnafil. Signage: ASI (interior). Exit Signs: Lithonia. Windows/Curtainwalls/Skylights: Kawneer (curtainwall); Naturalite (skylights); Oldcastle (glazing). Elevators/Escalators: Kone.


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