Architect’s Corner: Smart Buildings Drive Resiliency

Future-Proofed Buildings Can Help Combat the Climate Crisis

by Katie Klein, country director for North America, WiredScore

(Editor’s Note: Katie Klein is the country director for North America at WiredScore.  Joining WiredScore from an extensive background in partnerships and business management, Klein has brought a fresh outlook on WiredScore’s overall business strategy as the company continues to scale nationwide.  A champion of cutting-edge technology in real estate, WiredScore defines and certifies digital connectivity and smart technology in homes and offices on a global scale, ensuring that buildings provide the best-in-class infrastructure that businesses and individuals require to thrive.  WiredScore has certified projects across North America, including in California, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and British Columbia.  Learn more at

As a major contributor to the unfolding climate crisis, the commercial real estate industry has the opportunity to be part of the solution.  Changes to the development of commercial real estate, while a daunting challenge, will be essential to achieving carbon neutrality in the built environment.  How we live, work, and interact with the places and spaces around us will shift, perhaps irrevocably. To help combat the climate crisis, commercial real estate owners and operators are using environmental, social, and governance (ESG) as a framework to prioritize initiatives and measure progress.  Recently, however, it’s become apparent that ESG alone is not sufficient to prepare the sector for greater flexibility to handle potential future shocks.  Enter resilience.

Why Resilience?

         Climate change is no longer a preventable obstacle.  As such, it becomes a priority to create spaces that are resilient to the changes ahead, as well as reducing the scale and rate of change.  In the context of real estate, resilience can be broken into three main parts, each denoting the ability to adapt to change whether it be external, such as environmental or societal, or the flexibility to stay current against constantly evolving technology:

         The first main part is the resilience of a building.  We examine how the physical infrastructure of buildings can adapt to global challenges such as power grid failures, weather-related impacts, and flood risk.  The second main part is the resilience of technology.  We observe whether building technology is future ready.  The risk of obsolescence due to outdated or inoperable technology is a looming threat to resilience.  The third main part is asking how technology can support building resiliency.  We determine the long-term impact technology has on a building’s ability to adapt to change.  For example, COVID-19 drove a shift to flexible working, thus realizing the need for cloud-based technologies across all IT infrastructures to allow for remote work.

ESG & Resiliency

         With ESG and resiliency goals in place, owners and operators are under immense pressure to demonstrate how they track and improve against these objectives.  The consequences of misreporting data and failure to use data to optimize outcomes are significant.  To create real estate that has a lasting impact and delivers positive outcomes for its users, the industry will need to future-proof buildings by implementing smart building technology that can gather information to further enable better decision- making.

         Modern buildings are now so complex that it is impossible to monitor the millions of available parameters without technological assistance, let alone optimize the many interrelated systems in real time.  The technology in an intelligent building can monitor every data point and over time learn how to balance and optimize every system to make for a building that is as efficient and effective as possible, helping owners and operators to achieve ESG and resiliency goals.

         It is clear technology has a critical foundational role in delivering ESG and resiliency in commercial real estate.  Proactively implementing smart building technology, rather than reactively, will be essential to future-proofing our built environment for a more resilient commercial real estate landscape.  Technology can help minimize emissions and strengthen resiliency, to avoid a market with stranded assets that are unleasable, unsellable, and ultimately unusable. 

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