Healthy Buildings

Case Study

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio


Powering the blueprint of the future for Healthy Sports Venues

Smart, healthy and sustainable building technology solutions ensure safe guest experience

Serving as the home arena for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers, the AHL Cleveland Monsters and numerous intercollegiate championship events, the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, regularly welcomed nearly two million visitors to more than 200 events every year. Then, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. And nothing short of a transformation would be required to ensure the health and safety of every guest, athlete, performer and staff member moving forward.

Leveraging the power of OpenBlue Healthy Buildings solutions from Johnson Controls, the FieldHouse has successfully initiated a return-to-venue plan that comes with the endorsement of leading experts from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and the Cleveland Clinic. This proactive plan relies on a series of initiatives designed to help protect the health and safety of all those who visit while ensuring the facility retains its place as Northeast Ohio’s premier sports and entertainment destination.

Healthy People

“As we prepare to reopen for Cavs and Monsters games, concerts and other events, we have been laser-focused on ensuring we have implemented a high-level of health and safety measures that instill confidence for everyone who walks into our building.”

Antony Bonavita, EVP of venue operations for Rocket Morgage FieldHouse

As the first sports and entertainment venue in Ohio – and just the third nationally – to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating through the IWBI, the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is establishing itself as a leader in progressive initiatives and certifications designed to ensure the health and safety of visitors, as well as for its use of technology to optimize the fan experience.

Clean air

A critical aspect in delivering an exceptional experience for the nearly 20,000 guests per event revolves around the facility’s building systems and technologies. These heating, cooling and life safety systems – along with the connected building management system – need to consistently meet visitor and staff expectations for comfort, safety, reliability and efficiency. In a post-pandemic world, they also need to leverage the latest ventilation and disinfection solutions to help mitigate a variety of airborne contaminants, to which these guests and employees may be exposed.

Harmful airborne irritants and pollutants can include viruses, bacterial microorganisms, dust, smoke, smog and more. To help provide FieldHouse occupants with cleaner, safer air, the facility has invested in air systems equipped with three technologies shown to be effective in killing or capturing viruses, pathogens and particulates:

  • UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI)
    • Disinfectant solutions including ultraviolet-C (UV-C) lighting and bipolar ionization (BPI) help reduce active pathogens on surfaces or in the air.
  • Bipolar ionization
    • The bipolar ionization system releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bacteria, mold, allergens and viruses while reducing their ability to travel through the air.
  • Highly efficient air filtration
    • Mixed-air HVAC systems greatly improve the facility’s clean air delivery rate by maximizing outdoor air circulation.

Touchless access

In addition to cleaner air initiatives, the FieldHouse is helping to ensure the safety and security of its guests and staff through the use of advanced video monitoring systems (VMS) and security systems that have been upgraded to provide access control and facility surveillance. These systems have also been outfitted with biometric upgrades and camera retrofits to further increase security levels.

Healthy Places


Metasys allows arena personnel to make more informed decisions regarding how to improve visitor comfort and safety while still improving overall system efficiency


Creating a healthy building environment at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse goes beyond stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. Taking advantage of resources available through the OpenBlue platform – as well as the complete suite of connected solutions and services available from Johnson Controls – the FieldHouse team leverages technologies that make the facility more inviting, more efficient and less expensive to operate over time. These intuitive, datapowered solutions also improve the FieldHouse staff’s ability to quickly respond to emergencies while providing more flexible facility monitoring and healthy air strategies:

  • Connected, efficient building systems and technologies include HVAC equipment, Metasys® building automation and Simplex fire systems.
  • Numerous, additional integrations, including UV systems, custom lighting dashboards and event modes help the facility staff respond to occupancy wellness requirements from a single digital platform using the Metasys® building automation system.
    • These controls monitor and adjust components that are vital in reducing airborne contaminants and preventing crosscontamination, including HVAC, fire and security systems.
    • – Data-rich solutions provide granular insight into variables such as room pressurization, air change rates, humidity and temperature.
  • Video monitoring systems (VMS) and security system upgrades provide access control and facility surveillance, with biometric upgrades and camera retrofits to increase security levels at both the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and the associated Cleveland Clinic Courts.
  • A Planned Service Agreement (PSA) for life cycle maintenance and service of mechanical systems, building controls, security and fire systems at both the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and the Cleveland Clinic Courts help reduce maintenance costs and minimize unexpected system downtime. These services also support timely equipment maintenance and replacement to maintain required HVAC system performance.

Healthy Planet

When we talk about healthy spaces, we can’t overlook the biggest space of all: our planet. And since buildings are typically responsible for about 40 percent of the planet’s total energy consumption, creating healthy building strategies to decrease energy consumption is critical. Unfortunately, no two buildings are alike – and that’s especially true when it comes to multipurpose facilities like the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Assessing the facility’s unique goals for sustainability and community engagement, therefore, resulted in equally unique solutions for reducing energy use.

Metasys® Building Automation System

This industry-leading building management system enhances occupant comfort, safety, security and productivity while providing system control and easy access to building data. It coordinates control of fire, security and lighting systems while streamlining facility management.

  • Serving as the “glue” between the individual HVAC, lighting, security and protection systems, Metasys® provides the FieldHouse team with a single platform that delivers the critical operating information they need. This, in turn, allows arena personnel to make more informed decisions on how to improve visitor comfort and safety while still improving overall system efficiency. Metasys® has also enabled the building operations team to troubleshoot issues and implement system changes more easily.

Central Plant Optimization

In large facilities like the FieldHouse, the central plant is typically the biggest user of energy and the biggest contributor to comfort. In these facilities, central plant uptime is critical, and so is optimizing efficiency. The next generation of Central Plant Optimization (CPO) software from Johnson Controls gathers realtime data from control systems, meters, weather forecasts and utility rates to optimize the operation of chilled water, hot water, steam and co-generation plants. It can help cut utility costs, meet sustainability goals, extend asset life and avoid costly, unplanned downtime.

  • Central Plant Optimization (CPO) powered by OptimumEnergy™ and Metasys® help optimize the arena environment, maximizing energy efficiency and ensuring the central plant’s major components work optimally together.
  • The Central Plant Optimization (CPO) software deployed for the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse uses predictive algorithms to minimize costs – not just energy use. This proven, patented technology leverages up-to-the-minute data from a variety of inputs, including data gathered from connected equipment and systems, in addition to external information like weather and maintenance schedules. This helps the arena’s operators optimize cooling, heating and power generation in a holistic way. This approach also helps inform both plant design and operating decisions that minimize life cycle costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and delivering reliable utility services.

Contrary to popular perception, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t result in significantly reduced building operating costs for most facilities, despite lower occupancy rates. At the same time, facilities like the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse needed to make investments in systems that increase the health profile of their buildings as part of their return-to-venue plan. These overlapping and interwoven business conditions have only underscored the need for flexible building platforms and technologies.

About OpenBlue

OpenBlue is a complete suite of connected solutions that serves industries from workplaces to schools, hospitals to campuses, and many more. This platform includes tailored, AI-infused service solutions such as remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, compliance monitoring, and advanced risk assessments. A dynamic new space from Johnson Controls, OpenBlue is how buildings come alive. To read more about OpenBlue, visit: