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The True Value of Healthy, Connected Buildings

Smart lighting and building software expert, amBX, have investigated new arguments as to the true value of a healthy building. It is suggested that owners and developers invest in smart tech to create a healthy building for both the environment and occupants, and connectivity plays an important part in this.

It is now widely acknowledged that 80% of the buildings in use in 2050 have already been built; therefore, it is realistic that these will need to be refurbished over that 30-year period. What we consider smart and healthy today might not be in 2050; it is essential that buildings adapt and are more flexible in their connected architecture. Today, many tenants view buildings as more than just bricks and mortar; they expect strong connectivity, added benefits, and tech-enabled solutions that create a desirable environment and lead to improved productivity and wellbeing.  

Governments around the world are also introducing new policies and legislation around carbon reduction. Building owners who do not comply by reducing carbon emissions will be driving down the value of their property and may eventually be liable to fines and penalties. It is in the best interests of everyone involved to invest in smart technology and energy management strategies to maintain and increase the value of their property. 

The commercial building market is competitive; therefore, owners and landlords need to ensure they have an advantage over others to successfully attract tenants and retain them. The impact of Covid-19 has shown that many employees can work from anywhere, so commercial office space is increasingly about creating an experience. Employers want to attract employees into the office by providing benefits and a positive culture that unites the team, leading to increased productivity, happiness, and job satisfaction. There is a lot to be said for an environment that is viewed positively and where people actively want to spend time. Richard Morris, Sales and Marketing Director of Technologywithin argues that it’s all about improving the desirability of a space, and connectivity helps to do that. 

Currently, there is an opportunity for landlords, developers, and owners to capitalise on healthy buildings. By investing in tech and creating a sustainable, comfortable environment, they can charge a higher premium. Tenants will be willing to pay more because of the reasons stated above. In general, as the building value increases, it will also increase the potential sale price in the future too. 

Certification can also help to increase value. Awarding bodies, such as WiredScore, rate buildings based on connectivity assurance. Others, such as WELL, rate how effective a building is for occupant wellbeing, and standards such as BREEAM measure sustainable value in a series of categories, ranging from energy to ecology. WiredScore state that buildings in London have been able to charge a 5% ‘digital premium’ on their space as a result of the certification.

It is estimated that 72% of digitally unconnected spaces could become obsolete in the not-so-distant future. Therefore, it’s clear that investment in digital infrastructure and technology is a key component of future-proofing assets and securing value. 

The connection between a quality working environment and employee productivity has been widely explored. Technology solutions and personalised services in buildings such as sophisticated lighting control, air quality sensors, HVAC sensors, intuitive room booking systems, cleaning schedules based on live data, contactless entry and pattern recognition all help to create a quality, comfortable environment, which has been linked to increased wellbeing, mood, and productivity. 

Data is the key. Connected systems and devices within a building reveal insights that were not previously available. Building operators can make informed decisions to create improved energy outcomes. The first stage is being able to understand an accurate picture of how the building currently performs and then being able to create a plan to improve, stop wastage and optimise environments. 

It is clear there is more value in smart, healthy buildings than just the ability to increase rent payments.  Connectivity is also the foundation of a smart building; it allows a lot of the technology to be installed and used effectively, contributing towards energy savings, environmental impact, and making sure that everything in a building is connected.

amBX’s SmartCore software can be utilised for both new builds and retrofits, integrating with your existing smart building platform providing additional functionality and benefits. It can also provide a user-friendly web-based dashboard that allows data to be interpreted taking smart buildings to new levels of sophistication.