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Joseph BocchiaroEMAIL INTERVIEWJoseph Bocchiaro and Ken Sinclair

Joseph Bocchiaro III, CStd, CTS-D, CTS-I, ISF-C, Principal Consultant, The Sextant Group

Joseph Bocchiaro has worked in the technology side of building design and systems integration for over 30 years, primarily with audiovisual/IT systems. As a Principal Consultant for The Sextant Group, a nationwide building technology consulting firm, he is privileged to work with clients such as architects and owners towards sophisticated building technology implementations.  Joe holds degrees in Electro-Optical Engineering, Film Studies, Media Studies, and Educational Technology, and is an active global presenter and author. His enthusiasm for sustainability parallels his lifelong involvement with Boy Scouts of America.



Smart Commercial Buildings

20th July 2016 - 22 July 2016    Location: Denver - Colorado - USA


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SinclairJoe, we understand you are to be the Keynote Speaker at the Smart Commercial Buildings Conference. What has been your passion in the Smart Building evolution?

Bocchiaro:  I think that a lifelong interest in sustainability collided at some point with my professional career, and that I found it to be an intriguing and useful place to be. That sustainability and conservation mindset came from my path to becoming an Eagle Scout. I have been in the audiovisual industry for over 30 years, with many years of study and practice before that. That industry has been rapidly converging with IT and now they are nearly indistinguishable. About 12 years ago, as LEED was taking hold, I was on green building design teams and realized I had nothing to offer from my professional disciplines. It was all about energy and water efficiency, heating and cooling, and materials. Ever since then, I have been working in a variety of ways to bring technology into the conversation of sustainable building design and operations. The arena of smart buildings is where all of this is happening, somewhat in a “wild west” manner. I have been fortunate that a lot of people in AV/IT are also interested in this, and it has been great to network with them and work on tangible projects.

SinclairWhat kind of projects are you referring to?

Bocchiaro:  There are too many to mention them all. For ten years I worked in the standards development field, and had the responsibility to launch and run research and standards development projects. Audiovisual Systems Energy Management, Sustainable Events Management, EnergyStar for audiovisual systems, Unified Automation for Buildings, Sustainable Technology Environments Program, and many others. These were programs in a variety of government agencies, trade associations, and professional societies across many fields.

SinclairWas there a common thread in all of these initiatives?

Bocchiaro:  On the one hand, yes, the commonality is in the nature of the programs; architecture, technology, performance, operations, and the role of people in each of them. On the other hand, the frustrating part is that there are so very many types of companies and organizations involved with their own pieces of the puzzle. It is the puzzle itself that has to be solved, and it is much more than the sum of its parts, or in this case, the siloed industries that are the stakeholders. The puzzle is the intelligent building, which by its nature must be an elegantly harmonized cocoon for its inhabitants.

SinclairHow can this be changed?

Bocchiaro:  The change is happening, but it has been in fits and starts. The overarching politicization of the science of climate change and the financial returns for smart buildings have been parallel conversations. The motivations from the economic side are self-evident, but the sleeping giant is the potential clamor for change that comes from a populace that is now politically free to accept the inevitability of- dare I say it- global warming. As a loosely-connected growing industry, smart buildings practitioners have the foundations to make a greatly-expanded impact. The demand has to be there though, and the demand for change has to come from the building occupants themselves I think. This is a people issue as much as the building operators that have to learn to adapt to and trust in the technology.

Control Solutions, Inc SinclairWhat do smart building stakeholders have to do to prepare?

Bocchiaro:  We are already rapidly advancing the technology in every aspect of buildings. Now it’s the people issues that have to come from within us. We have to be willing to give up our traditional roles and fiefdoms in our silos. We have to collaborate to create interoperability and security standards so that we have a basis for trusting each other. We have to learn each other’s technical language so there is common ground. And we have to be willing to allow architects and technology consultants to organize the synergistic designs. They in turn have to craft specifications with the integrity to allow the responsibility of single points of contact for the integration of the systems. We have to continue to create great examples of successful smart buildings to hold up as examples to the naysayers. As a technology designer, I have to follow my own advice and see the big picture while sweating the details to get buildings built. We have to learn how to work together, and to believe that this cooperation will be both lucrative and lead to a cleaner world.


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