New smart building standard sets the bar for digital workplaces

SmartScore aims to put a framework around what makes buildings smart

May 07, 2021

Commercial buildings that help reduce carbon emissions or promote healthy employees have increasingly earned certifications for their contributions in recent years.

A new certification is aiming to benchmark another indicator of building quality: its smartness.

U.S.-based WiredScore recently launched SmartScore, which aims to bring consensus around the term “smart” in smart buildings, a phrase that has typically denoted sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) used to optimise building systems.

By providing a definition, the idea is that landlords can better communicate their investment and efforts in smart technology to attract tenants and futureproof their buildings. It also allows tenants to easily locate smart buildings.

“Digital transformation in real estate has moved at an accelerated pace since the global pandemic,” says Richard Fennell, head of property and asset management. “Smart building aspects such as contactless technology, communication tools and data, is allowing investors and tenants greater certainty over their decision-making, as well as providing competitive advantage.”

Certifications around sustainability and wellness have proliferated in the commercial real estate industry at a time of rising awareness around the topics. MIT recently found that healthy buildings even command higher rents.

For a number of years smart has been a big thing for landlords to tackle but the industry hasn’t been joined up in defining it, says Eden Dwek who is implementing the standard globally at SmartScore.


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“A building could have an iPad in reception for tenants or visitors to check in and a landlord might say that’s a smart building, whereas on the other end of the spectrum, a landlord might have a comprehensive smart building strategy and call that a smart building, but to a tenant they can’t really differentiate between the two,” he says. 

Buildings on board

WiredScore launched its first building certification in 2013 in partnership with the City of New York and Michael Bloomberg, who was mayor at the time. The certification rates buildings on their internet and mobile coverage. To date, WiredScore has certified over 65 million square metres of commercial office space.

The company’s latest offering, SmartScore, launched in April and has 70 buildings across seven countries signed up.

It comes at a time when digital connectivity is becoming a differentiator in real estate, according to the JLL report What Do Professionals Want from the Workplace.

Unreliable digital connectivity can significantly impair productivity and create stress among workers, as well as lead people to consider moving to a company that is capable of letting them use the latest technology to grow professionally, the report says.

SmartScore describes a smart building as one that delivers outstanding outcomes for all users, through digital technology. It says the four outcomes users care for most are an inspirational experience, a sustainable building, a cost-efficient building and one that is future proof by design.

Though the SmartScore certification includes a sustainability element, it is meant as complementary to established benchmarks such as the international WELL standard, BREEAM in the UK, and NABERS in Australia.

“While healthy or sustainable certifications are helping landlords or operators identify what their targets are, we’re helping those landlords use technology to deliver on those outcomes,” says Dwek.

ISPT, which is one of Australia’s largest unlisted property managers and invests on behalf of many Australian superannuation funds, is in the process of WiredScore certification on two buildings. The main driver was to use the rating scheme as a leasing tool to attract high-quality tenants.

“It’s a competitive environment and we saw the certification as an opportunity to stand out in the field,” says ISPT engineer, James Giannikos. “We also wanted a way to prove to tenants, through independent verification, that we will deliver and have delivered the technology we said we would in our assets.”

Contact Eden Dwek

Director of expansion, Wiredscore

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