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In Focus: The Business Case for the Building of the Future

Investing in facilities now will yield financial and physical benefits in the short and long term.

Q1 2022
Over the past two years, building occupants have become more aware of the health of the environment around them, especially indoors. Additionally, awareness of “Sick Building Syndrome” — the idea that building occupants become sick from the building they work in — has grown. Now, occupants expect the opposite: a smart, healthy building.

It’s not only building occupants. With the labor shortage expected to continue well into 2022, employees are also in the unique position to be selective in the company for which they choose to work. Looking ahead, building owners and managers are going to have to step up their facility infrastructure to make sure their working environment is one in which all occupants — employees, patients, shoppers, or visitors — feel safe and comfortable.

A New Era of Occupant Expectations
A healthy building consists of more than just an air quality filtration system. The checklist for a healthy building that meets a new standard of occupant expectations includes:
  • Touchless access controls — Building managers can reduce touchpoints, and therefore the spread of disease, by implementing digital badges for both employees and visitors. Offering a mobile integration of access controls systems allows employees to gain access to areas of the building depending on access level permissions, further heightening security.
  • Smart lighting and filtration systems — When integrated with access controls and occupancy sensors, lighting and HVAC systems can automatically adjust depending on occupancy levels, maximizing energy efficiency and preparing spaces before visitors arrive, keeping the building a step ahead.
  • Remote building monitoring systems — By connecting HVAC, security, fire safety, and sustainability systems and creating a single dashboard or control room, building managers can get a holistic view of building energy use and opportunities for efficiency as well as occupant behavior and foot traffic.
  • Public-facing dashboards — Occupants increasingly expect transparency and sustainability from the buildings and organizations where they live, work, and play. By implementing public dashboards displaying real-time data on facility efficiency, energy use, and clean air, building managers can ensure occupants feel more at ease.
Advanced, connected systems allow buildings to make data-driven decisions in real-time to create safer and more comfortable spaces for occupants while also increasing productivity, profitability and sustainability.

Employers will need to leverage healthy building environments to attract both employees and customers in order to keep up with (and eventually outpace) the competition. Short- and Long-Term Benefits
Although these building improvements may seem like a reaction to the past two years, digital technologies and increased resiliency will be essential for buildings long-term. By implementing these connected technologies, buildings will use fewer resources and, in turn, reduce operating expenditures — a boon for the organization, the community, and the planet. What’s more, in an increasingly competitive market, employers will need to leverage healthy building environments to attract both employees and customers in order to keep up with (and eventually outpace) the competition.

Equally as important, healthy building upgrades create a comfortable, inviting environment for occupants and a higher standard of convenience and security. With warm lighting and well-managed indoor air quality, employees are more likely to be productive and content, giving a boost to company operations and retention. Plus, these upgrades serve to empower occupants with greater autonomy — they can absorb the building performance and energy use data themselves to better understand their environment and what’s happening behind the scenes; they can use touchless access control tools to travel through the building; and they can book rooms and prepare meeting spaces digitally.

Through investments focused on health and wellness, building managers have the opportunity to create the building of the future; buildings that are smart, connected, and safe are the ones that will attract talent or customers, bolster productivity and mood, and make all occupants feel safe and informed.

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