Building operators prioritize the safety and security of their facilities over sustainability and productivity, according to a recent survey of nearly 500 buildings across seven major U.S. cities by Honeywell and KRC Research. While safety emerged as the top concern, the vast majority of facility managers do recognize the beneficial nature of green initiatives.
Half of those surveyed, however, say their facilities aren’t equipped with the right technology to maximize energy efficiency and sustainability. In addition, while the country’s airports, government offices, and hospitals are leading the way with smart buildings, the survey found that, in general, the intelligence of U.S. buildings is low.
The Honeywell Smart Building Score™ is a first-of-its-kind global index that evaluates facilities based on the technology used to make them green, safe, and productive —three main indicators of smart buildings.
“There’s an emerging opportunity for buildings to make real contributions to an organization’s mission,” said Alex Ismail, President and CEO of Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions. “In addition to helping keep occupants healthy, safe and productive, smart buildings can drive top-line growth and bottom-line profits, making facilities strategic assets instead of overhead.”
Among the key findings of the survey:
- In general, the “smartness” of buildings in the U.S. is low. On a scale of 1-100, the average Smart Building Score among the facilities surveyed is 35.
- Fifty-one percent of respondents cite safety as the primary gauge of a smart building, while 27 percent say green assets and 22 percent say productive assets are the most indicative qualities.
- According to the survey, the top three scoring assets in U.S. buildings are fire detection systems, efficient appliances and fixtures, and remote access/wired infrastructure.
- Eighty-two percent of facility managers agree about the beneficial nature of energy efficiency, while only 53 percent believe their building is “technologically advanced” enough to maximize efficiency.
- Public buildings universally score higher on green (40 vs. 35), safe (47 vs. 35), and productive (41 vs. 32) assets than private buildings, leading to an overall score of 43, compared to the overall private building score of 34.
- Among the eight building types, airports (50), government offices (46), and hospitals (45) are the smartest buildings and high rise residences (31) and private offices (31) are least smart.
Organizations that took part in the research were also asked to self-assess their buildings and give them a score on the 1-100 scale. Participants consistently overrated the intelligence of their facilities; the average difference between perceived and real scores is more than 20 points. Estimates from hospitals and government offices were often closest to the Smart Building Score, while the most inflated assessment came from hotels and residential high-rises.
The survey builds on similar research recently conducted by Honeywell in India earlier this year. One point of comparison: U.S. buildings score much higher in the deployment of safety-focused technologies, while facilities in India are more sophisticated when it comes to green strategies and tools.
The Smart Building Score evaluates a building’s use of 15 technology assets that make a building green, safe, and productive, based on the systems’ overall capabilities, coverage of the facility, and uptime.
- The green asset group includes a building’s use of natural resources, flexible heating and cooling systems, and control panels for monitoring energy consumption — all of which impact carbon emissions, a facility’s environmental footprint and utility costs for the building occupant or user.
- The safe category includes access control, surveillance and intrusion monitoring, fire systems, emergency communications, and health and life safety systems.
- The productive category measures those technologies that help boost productivity, and includes indoor air quality sensors, lighting systems, data and communications infrastructure such as wired and wireless networks, and backup electricity systems for uninterrupted power.
In addition, the survey covers eight types of facilities: education, airports, hospitals, high-rise residential, government offices, hotels, private offices, and retail. The buildings that were evaluated are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.
Honeywell leaders presented the research findings at VERGE 2015 in San Jose, CA. The results were accompanied by a white paper from Honeywell and analyst firm IHS, “Put Your Building to Work: A Smart Approach to Better Business Outcomes,” which details how targeted investment in smart buildings can be used to drive economic and environmental benefits, and help protect human life and building assets.