At Cisco, the environment and sustainability are more than just important. They are the underpinnings of our vision of an inclusive future that takes everyone into account, including future generations.

To fully achieve our goals, we have also focused on redesigning our workspaces globally. We are applying our own Cisco smart building technology and that of our vast partner ecosystems across our nearly 19 million square feet of global real estate to drive to net-zero. Over the last 5 years, Cisco’s Global Energy Management and Sustainability team have complete 440 projects and counting, reducing our worldwide Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 55%  avoiding an estimated 140 GWh of energy consumption and 62,000 metric tons CO2 emissions (Cisco 2020 Environment Technical Review).

This included projects like HVAC system upgrades, airflow management, LED lighting, building controls and analytics, and smart building design projects.  And, based on our internal studies, we have found that by using power over Ethernet (PoE), we saved nearly 23, 000 lbs of steel conduit and over 1,000 lbs of copper wiring per 100,000 ft2 of office space retrofitted, with up to 20% faster install times – saving $3/ft2 in materials and labor.  The combined annual energy savings have been shown to be over $3,000 for the same space.

This is just tip of the iceberg. While the significant energy savings and a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the goal, deploying smart building technology has also come with a huge side-benefit – a safer, healthier, more controllable work environment that will be able to be leveraged as the transition to person collaboration eventually occurs. This means “double bang” for the investment, making inroads to both LEED and WELL standards.

The evolution of our networking and operational technologies, what we call Cisco Smart Building Solutions, combines lessons learned from our years of work with our partners and customers with the latest in wireless and wired networking, PoE powered devices, lighting, shades, HVAC controllers, sensors, cameras, screens and building management systems. The goal is to not only connect, but to interconnect IT and OT systems to help respond and react as the use of the space changes.

The foundation of Cisco Smart Building solutions starts with Catalyst 9000 switches and access points.  The Catalyst 9000 family powers and securely interconnects the previously unconnected with 90W UPOE+, Wi-Fi 6 and multigigabit technology. 

Upon that foundation Cisco Smart Building solutions includes the next level of functionality that puts the “smart” in smart buildings:

You may find that you already much what you need already in place to make your workplaces sustainable and safe.

Learning from the best – ASHRAE

It is important to note that smart building technology is not only for new construction. While we have proven this over and over, there are few more impressive examples that what American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) did with their headquarters in Atlanta’s Peachtree Corners neighborhood. Their new, retrofitted facility will become a showcase for the latest smart building equipment and technology, providing a state-of-the-art technology installed and “in action” in a built environment.  

While ASHRAE was founded more than 150 years ago, it has never been more important and relevant than it is today. With a focus on the health and wellness of building ecosystems, ASHRAE has long been at the forefront of system design and construction of HVAC systems.

As a stated mission, their new headquarters will have a zero-carbon footprint and represents ASHRAE has long held sustainability values. With an understanding that “the needs of society and the workplace are shifting, and the existing building stock must be prepared to react”, their focus was to undertake a retrofit process that addresses the uniqueness of the new building and accomplish it in an economically justifiable manner using replicable technology.

A conversation with ASHRAE

Cisco’s Jasmine Shah recently sat down with ASHRAE’s outgoing ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, to discuss their inspiration and how they hope their showcase headquarters will inspire others to start their journey to net-zero.

Listen to the ASHRAE podcast below, then check out our entire series at Cisco Insider Series for Networking.

Visit our Cisco ESG Reporting Hub to read our CSR Impact Report
and learn more about how we’re powering a more inclusive future through CSR.

Visit our Cisco Smart Building Solutions to learn how Cisco and our partners can make your building safer and more efficient.

Check out our Cisco Networking video channel

Subscribe to the Cisco Networking blog


Jeff Meek

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking and Mobility