The goal of SmartScore, which is from the same company that earlier introduced the WiredScore connectivity rating system for real estate, is to provide clarity, definition and measurement for the growing smart building industry. The certification aims to provide credibility and certainty to an industry rapidly undergoing digital transformation.
SmartScore ratings involve approximately 40 measurements which consider:
– user functionality, which covers things including productivity, health and well-being, sustainability and community services offered;
– and technological foundation, which covers the likes of the physical building, digital connectivity, building systems, integrated networks, data sharing, governance and cyber-security.
“Technology is redefining real estate and technology is polarizing real estate,” said Andrew Freitas, who was recently named WiredScore’s director of business development for North America. Freitas’ former role as head of Canadian markets was taken over by 11-year RYCOM veteran Mike St. Cyr.
“There’s a bit of a flight-to-quality happening, so the best-in-class buildings are those that can really deliver on what occupiers are looking for.”
KingSett, Triovest pioneering landlords
KingSett vice-president of building technology and decarbonization lead Joe Brown is responsible for enhancing technology and innovation, and leading the company’s decarbonization program, to drive value across its real estate portfolio.
The mechanical engineer, who has been with KingSett for two-and-a-half years, was one of the more than 90 people who served on the WiredScore Smart Council to develop the SmartScore standard and help define what the market wants from smart buildings.
Brown told RENX SmartScore enables the commercial real estate industry to focus on where value can be driven for building investors, owners and tenants. It’s easier to sell a building with a globally recognized certification to a prospective buyer, he added.
“It establishes a consistent framework that owners, developers and managers of real estate can use to gauge where they are today and also help guide where they want to go in the future,” Freitas said.
More than 100 buildings around the world are working toward SmartScore certifications, including 10 others in Canada. They include:
– 700 University Ave. in Toronto;
– Atrium in Toronto;
– CIBC SQUARE in Toronto;
– Portland Commons in Toronto;
– Scotia Plaza in Toronto; and
– B6 in Vancouver.
2 Bloor West and other KingSett buildings
The SmartScore certification process for the 34-storey, class-A 2 Bloor West tower began in June and was finalized in November. It already had a Platinum WiredScore certification.
The tower was constructed in the early 1970s.
“The process was potentially slightly longer than it will be on subsequent buildings, just because we had to develop some standards and paperwork that didn’t exist to fulfill the needs of SmartScore,” Brown said.
“Now those have become our standardized documents with Triovest and they will be rolled out on all buildings moving forward, so it should be a more expedited process.”
KingSett is seeking SmartScore certifications for three other major properties in the Greater Toronto Area.
Two Triovest-managed buildings have preliminary assessments completed and the third is in the works, but is a bit behind since its property manager is also going through the certification process for the first time.
The longer-term aim is to have all of KingSett’s major office assets certified.
“Even if we don’t get it on our first try, it sets a very strong road map of where we need to improve and how to get there,” said Brown. “We want to be industry-leading in this field and we want to be able to articulate that to the market.”
“This is not an easy certification to achieve,” said Freitas. “This is for buildings that are really pushing the industry.”
WiredScore was founded in New York City in 2013 to provide a rating system to help property owners and managers design and promote buildings with powerful digital connectivity.
The SmartScore certification was launched earlier this year.