How will smart cities and smart buildings impact commercial real estate?
Vestian brought together government and transit leaders, corporate real estate end users, top legal minds, and industry veterans with Smart Cities experts Melanie Nutter and Brenna Berman to discuss this exciting and evolving topic.
Melanie opened the discussion by describing the potential environmental benefits of further leveraging the use of new technologies as well as data collection and analysis in buildings. She noted that since buildings are responsible for over 70% of energy consumption in large cities, using new technology and data tools to improve energy efficiency and deploy renewable energy will be central to reducing carbon emissions worldwide.
Melanie also shared her insights on how automation in the built environment will impact attraction and retention of talent, particularly the millennial generation who are reliant on mobile devices. “The ability for someone to use their mobile device to reserve a desk, find a colleague, reserve a conference room, or report a janitorial issue makes a workspace more desirable”.
“Smart Building technology gives the CRE professional another tool to modernize the workspace to attract the next generation of workers. We’re seeing a strong trend with new build-outs, but also believe there is an opportunity to integrate smart building technologies into existing spaces to make significant impact on the employee experience without heavy capital investment in space reconfiguration” commented Francine Niemiec, Vestian President Account Services.
Executive Director of City Tech Collaborative Brenna Berman highlighted work that the organization is developing for the building sector including a “platform of platforms” which will help disparate systems within a building interact. She also described a new project – the largest green field project in the US – where the City Tech Collaborative will play a consultative role in the deployment of sensors throughout the project.
Brenna also fielded questions from the group, showing a particular interest in learning more about the success of Chicago’s lighting retrofit project. Because the ROI is significant on retrofit projects, it is almost always one of the first Smart projects that a building or city will undertake. The savings can be so great that often they are used in part to fund other projects that have high impact to residents and businesses but lower return on financial investment.
In the group was Shrini Rao, Vestian CEO Asia Pacific. “India has approached Smart Cities differently. Governments are taking the lead to own total implementation. Vestian has been honored to participate in several major projects and we continue to grow our smart cities consulting team”.