The Law Office

“And I already shut down an argument with one of my more “thermo-sensitive” employees using it, so win-win!”


Reliant on tenants to identify issues, any adjustments required a knowledgeable person to be on site and at the control, no data to assess equipment performance, no data to assess opportunities for, and track energy savings, lack of equipment issue and maintenance documentation.


  • Three equipment issues identified by Cognition’s Equipment Issue Intelligence 
  • Reduced HVAC energy use by 15%
  • Leveraged data for targeted and more timely preventative maintenance
  • Removed subjectivity from comfort conversations with tenants.

The Details

Saving Energy

With 108 hours (+18.5%) now running on an unoccupied schedule, the Law Firm has reduced HVAC equipment energy use by ~15%, while keeping the office comfortable.

Using Cognition Controls, The Law Firm is running HVAC equipment less frequently compared with their old programmable thermostats because:

  • Cognition automatically manages the transition between unoccupied and occupied ranges, ensuring comfort while expanding the number of hours when an unoccupied, energy efficient schedule can run.
  • Cognition Schedule Exceptions makes it easy to schedule one-time or ongoing modifications to the schedule, and automatically returns to Comfort Preference.

Energy Insights

Cognition actively tracks equipment heat, cool and fan runtime and translates this data into useful estimates to understand how heating and cooling impacts The Law Firm’s utility costs.
Between December 14, 2022 and Nov 8, 2023, The Law Firm rooftop units have operated for over 9,000 hours.

To make runtime easier to identify on the utility bill, Cognition uses an intelligent algorithm, informed by rooftop unit manufacturer specifications, to convert runtime to kWh. Cognition estimates the Law Firm used 62,000-85,000 kWh of energy.*

Proactive Equipment Issue Alerts

Cognition Controls actively reviews how HVAC equipment operates and compares current performance against past performance to proactively identify issues and provide useful alerts that help to avoid service disruptions and unnecessary emergency costs.

On Jan 28 and June 23 the Cognition Equipment Degradation algorithm proactively identified issues with equipment in zones S4 and N2, respectively. In both instances, the Cognition email alert led The Law Firm to contact their HVAC firm, who identified that the root problem was a failure of the HVAC equipment control board.

Zone Insights

The Cognition Data Explorer provides historic, interactive data to confirm and troubleshoot issues, and to deepen understanding about how a space and a building operates. As illustrated by Zone N2 below, heat (orange bars) was frequently required in the cold weather months to keep this corner office warm. Through the shoulder months of April and May, equipment runtime was much lower (fewer bars). As outdoor intraday temperatures varied significantly in late May and early June, both heat and cool (blue bars) were needed to keep the space comfortable. The green bars indicate an in-space request to temporarily override the comfort preference managing the space.

Zone Comparisions

At the building level, the Data Explorer provides useful comparisons across zones. The example below illustrates how zone N7 - North Internal, is managed by the surrounding zones and does not need its equipment to operate to maintain a comfortable temperature. Conversely, N1 - Reception is most impacted by external weather and temperature fluctuates in a consistent wave during occupied hours as the HVAC equipment operates to maintain the 72-75 comfort range. While N5 - Conference Room also requires HVAC equipment to operate for comfort, this is less frequent as there is less impact from external weather.

Proactive Maintenance Reminders

Cognition Controls actively tracks HVAC equipment heat, cool and fan runtime to provide useful reminders on when equipment is due for preventative maintenance. Given the high variability in operations, these reminders are useful to ensure heavy use equipment is serviced more frequently, and helps guide HVAC Pros to focus on what needs their attention. 

The maintenance information below is based on runtime since mid-August 2023 and demonstrates how equipment maintenance needs vary depending on use. Internal zones like S2, S7 and S4 operate more frequently during warm weather and thus are closer to a maintenance threshold than zones like N5 and S6, which tend to operate very infrequently in warm weather months, but are required daily during cold weather months. See Building Insights section for more information on how equipment runtime varies in The Law Firm.

Building Insights

Cognition provides useful data comparison tools and visuals to analyze the performance of the HVAC equipment managing a building. The table below summarizes data from the past 11 months at the Law Firm. 

  • Over 60% of total runtime is for cooling equipment operations during summer months.
  • During summer months, the equipment controlling interior zones operates most frequently and consistently (S2, S3, N7, S5 - see Zone Map in appendix)).
  • In contrast, equipment controlling zones along the periphery of the building (N4, S4, N2, S1, N1) account for the bulk of equipment runtime during cold weather months. These zones effectively insulate interior spaces enough that their equipment runs very infrequently during cold weather.
  • Given the significant variance in equipment use, preventative maintenance is required more frequently on equipment with higher runtime. For example, Zone N4 ran 15x more than S6 during cold weather months, and 5x more during warm weather months.


Floorplan with heat detail

Internal zones are insulated by zones along external facing wall periphery. 

Heat and Cool Details

29,073 SF
13 x 3-8 ton rooftop units controlled by unconnected programmable thermostats
Single story, masonry and steel frame
Offices, conference rooms and open-concept workspace
Rochester, NY