The company behind the WiredScore connectivity rating system for real estate is launching a new certification for smart buildings.
“This was driven by our clients,” WiredScore head of Canadian operations Andrew Freitas told RENX. “Those investing in technology in their buildings and looking to deliver truly smart buildings want a global benchmark and global standard to understand what’s happening in the wider market and be able to define that.”
The goal of SmartScore 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 pursuing digital transformation.
The global smart building market is forecast to be worth $226.2 billion by 2025.
The WiredScore Smart Council — with over 90 client and non-client building owners, developers, occupiers, engineers, consultants and research advisers — was assembled a year ago to develop a framework for smart buildings.
It helped define outcomes related to cost efficiency, enabling sustainability, creating an inspiring experience and staying future-proof. Several buildings around the world were volunteered to test SmartScore before its official launch.
The SmartScore process
SmartScore representatives will meet with all stakeholders in a property — including developers, architects, consultants, engineers and property management teams — to walk them through what’s included in the smart building scorecard and then provide resources on the evidence they should provide to create a score.
SmartScore ratings will involve approximately 40 different measurements that will 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.
There are weightings within the scorecard – like that of WiredScore, it will add up to 100 – and Freitas said there will be Silver, Gold and Platinum levels.
SmartScore won’t just deliver a score and a report to users, it will also provide guidance to show areas where a building scored well, areas that can be improved, and what can be done to make those improvements.
SmartScore will also provide fact sheets explaining a building’s technology and smart systems and work with clients’ marketing, branding and public relations teams to promote their scores and properties.
“We want to help them with a global benchmark and promote them to the market and to help drive return on investment behind the investments these companies are making in new developments and existing buildings,” said Freitas.
While SmartScore is a different certification from WiredScore, it shares a similar methodology and cost is based on factors including building size, age and type. Freitas said a SmartScore certification will usually cost between $20,000 and $80,000.
Seventy buildings encompassing approximately 25 million square feet, owned by 44 landlords in seven countries, have initially committed to the SmartScore certification.
“We see the value of SmartScore as a benchmarking platform to communicate the features and benefits of our Smart Building Technology Strategy,” KingSett chief executive officer Jon Love said in a media statement.
“Through this strategy we maximize efficiencies and cost savings, attain our ESG goals and provide unique tenant offerings.”
Canadian buildings committed to SmartScore certification include:
– 2 Bloor W. in Toronto;
– 700 University Ave. in Toronto;
– Atrium in Toronto;
– CIBC Square in Toronto;
– Portland Commons in Toronto;
– Scotia Plaza in Toronto;
– and B6 in Vancouver.
The SmartScore certification is launching at a time when building owners and tenants need to work together to entice employees back into offices after many have worked from home for more than a year due to COVID-19.
SmartScore believes a certification will be attractive to investors and lenders as proof of a building’s long-term viability and speed up and simplify due diligence by answering questions about building technology.
WiredScore was founded in New York City in 2013 and launched a rating system to help landlords design and promote buildings with powerful digital connectivity.
Operations have since expanded into Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Germany. More than 650 million square feet of commercial and residential space have been committed to WiredScore certification.
Almost 400 Canadian buildings, comprising more than 75 million square feet, have received WiredScore certifications. Freitas said some WiredScore clients are also interested in SmartScore certifications, but their buildings aren’t yet sufficiently advanced. SmartScore will act as a resource to help them progress to that point, he added.
“Not every single building is aiming to be smart, and maybe they shouldn’t, but it’s top-tier buildings that are pushing the industry forward,” said Freitas. “I hope that top tier will grow over time as more and more technology gets adopted.”
BOMA BEST Smart Buildings Certification Program
In another development in the smart buildings sphere, BOMA Canada announced on April 15 a pilot project for the BOMA BEST Smart Buildings Certification Program, which it said will set “a global standard for how smart buildings are measured while also providing users with a roadmap to drive further asset enhancement and investment.”
The program will consider six key indicators: artificial intelligence; cyber and physical security; data management; connectivity; health and well-being; and sustainability.
The BOMA Best pilot project will include Avison Young, BentallGreenOak, Dream, GWL Realty Advisors, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Morguard, QuadReal Property Group and Triovest, along with these Canadian buildings:
– 390 Bay St. in Toronto
– 80 Richmond St. W. in Toronto;
– The Livmore in Toronto;
– Sun Life Financial Centre in Ottawa;
– Mississauga Gateway Centre in Mississauga;
– Place Ville Marie in Montreal;
– Penn West Plaza in Calgary;
– and 745 Thurlow in Vancouver.
“Like everything we do, this program really is by the industry, for the industry and the fact that we have some of the biggest commercial real estate companies in the world lining up to support it speaks volumes about the value we expect to deliver to our membership,” BOMA Canada president and CEO Benjamin Shinewald said in a media release.
Freitas said he didn’t know enough about the BOMA Best Smart Buildings Certification Program to compare it to SmartScore, or whether to consider it a competitor or a complement to the program.