Customer & partner stories - People counting

Reducing energy consumption and expenditure at the CICG, Geneva, with an integrated people counting solution

Reducing energy consumption across its real estate portfolio is a major focus for the Fondation des Immeubles Pour les Organisations Internationales (FIPOI). (Image: CICG)
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As part of its larger goal to reduce the electrical and thermal consumption of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems across its estate by an estimated 350,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, FIPOI has introduced Terabee’s people counting system at the Centre International de Conferences Genève (CICG), a major conference center, in Geneva.

FIPOI is a private, not-for-profit foundation created by the Swiss Confederation and the Canton of Geneva. It provides a range of building related services aimed at facilitating the activities of international organisations in Geneva.

Reducing Energy Consumption And Expenditure At The Cicg With An Integrated People Counting Solution

Services include the provision of office space, ensuring its buildings are operational and properly maintained, as well as advising on construction matters.

It also manages and operates five conference centres, of which the CICG is the largest, with a clientele from Geneva embassies and diplomatic missions.

Reducing energy consumption and emissions has long been part of FIPOI’s mission. As early as 2007 the foundation connected to the first Genève-Lac-Nations (GLN) hydrothermal network, taking water from Lake Geneva to heat and cool some of its buildings.

FIPOI is a member of the négaWatt Association, a non-governmental French think tank, aimed at facilitating France’s energy transition to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050.

It is also an active member of 2050Today, a Geneva climate action forum aimed at assisting members of International Geneva to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

By integrating a people counting system with the CICG’s Building Management System (BMS), FIPOI hoped to reduce the conference center’s energy consumption by automatically adjusting its HVAC system according to real time, accurate room occupancy numbers.

Laurent Abadie, Project Manager at FIPOI commented, “As part of a wider strategy to reduce the electrical and thermal consumption of the HVAC systems across our entire estate by an estimated 350,000 kilowatt hours per year, we wanted to monitor and reduce energy consumption at the CICG.

“We hoped that with a more accurate understanding of occupancy numbers across the Center, we could automatically adjust the HVAC and air volume to levels that are more appropriate to the number of people within a given space, to ensure maximum comfort for CICG users, while reducing the electrical and thermal consumption of the ventilation system. We could then use the results as a benchmark for other conference centers and buildings.”

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The importance of privacy protection

The CICG is a major meeting place for international organisations and often plays host to VIPs and senior diplomats. Protecting the privacy of its patrons was therefore a critical priority when assessing potential people counting solutions.

Based on 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology, Terabee’s people counting solutions guarantee the anonymity of the people entering and exiting a room. Unlike stereo vision people counting systems, ToF sensing does not capture an RGB image. Instead it captures a depth image, detecting only the approximate shape of a person (rejecting non human forms) and their direction of movement. 

Laurent commented, “People visit the CICG from all over the world. We must be able to reassure our visitors that their privacy is 100% protected and their movements will not be recorded. Terabee’s GDPR compliant people counting solution was therefore the only option for us.”

The solution

With 12 conference rooms over three floors, with capacity from 20 up to 2,200 people, as well as 4,000 m2 of exhibition space, 60 offices, a post office, two bars and a restaurant, the CICG required a very comprehensive people counting system. The solution also needed to accommodate the main entrance’s very large rotating doors, the building’s extra high ceilings, as well as internal doors that range from 1.4 m to 6 m wide, and modular rooms with automated moving wall systems. 

The obvious solution was therefore the Terabee People Counting L-XL solution. Easy to configure and install on high ceilings, the Terabee People Counting L-XL is designed for wide doorways and passageways – accommodating up to 15 meters wide in a multi-device setup. 

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Compteur de personnes

Using plans of the building provided by the client, Terabee were able to configure the optimal system, which included a total of 56 sensors.

The system is integrated with the Center’s BMS, providing real time data relating to occupancy levels with 98% accuracy, and enabling the BMS to automatically adjust heating and ventilation in separate rooms according to the number of occupants.

Clement Peltrault, Product and Tech Sales Manager, Terabee commented, “As part of our People Counting Services we worked closely with FIPOI and Center’s team to design the optimal system and solution – providing accurate information for the electrical and cabling requirements.

“We also preconfigured each device prior to shipment and installation to reduce the installation time and to limit disruption. This was very important as the Center is incredibly busy.”

Laurent added, “The installation of the devices and the system configuration took little more than a week, which was fantastic.

“The collaboration and communication with Terabee’s commercial and technical teams from start to finish has been incredibly helpful and we really appreciated having their technicians on site during the installation to help make sure everything was properly installed and configured. Since it has been installed the system has been 100% reliable.”

Not only has the new people counting system enabled the CICG to optimise its HVAC and reduce its energy consumption, the people counting data is also being used by internal teams to great effect. The conference team is using the figures to report on attendance at events – and benchmark numbers against other conference centers. 

In addition, the team is also using the figures and statistics to help develop catering options and advise prospective clients on their catering requirements. 

What’s next?

Laurent concluded, “We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the solution to other companies because with very little investment, it has enabled us to reduce our energy consumption, whilst at the same time maintain a high level of comfort for our patrons by providing optimal air quality and temperature.

“It’s a really low cost way to make significant energy savings, which is so important today. It’s also provided us with a way to benchmark our energy performance in a meaningful way. The next step is to optimise the energy consumption of our other buildings.”

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