Written on Modified on
As part of their podcast series, smart software company amBX interviewed Andy Saull, who works for CBRE as a Digital Advisory Consultant. Andy Saull is a prop-tech expert, and he has conducted a multitude of research in the industry.
In his role, he helps large owners, occupiers, and developers of real estate to use technology to improve the ESG of their assets and their workplaces. amBX interviewed him about the environmental and social sustainability of buildings and what the current trends, challenges and opportunities are.
Andy Saull commented, “Today’s top trends are focused on environmental sustainability, working towards the net-zero 2030 and 2050 targets.
We’re seeing a massive shift, where people suddenly realise that the users of buildings have a choice. There’s now more of a social sustainability angle for buildings in order to attract people to offices through better wellbeing, health, fitness and productivity.
However, we’re yet to be able to really measure social sustainability as easily as we can measure environmental sustainability. But in the future, I believe it will be a key metric we all consider when renting, buying and investing in buildings”.
Andy Saull identified that there are currently no financial incentives for landlords, investors and building owners to upgrade buildings and make them more environmentally friendly.
“The market doesn’t yet value more environmentally sustainable buildings, largely because we have no real way of measuring the ROI of sustainable investment.”
He also states that the way sustainability is benchmarked do not correlate with operational energy usage.
“Research shows that currently, things like EPC ratings and minimum energy efficiency standards do not actually correlate with operational energy performance. You can own a building with an EPC rating of A, but it can perform in operation in the same way as a building that has been given an EPC rating of E. It’s just a badge or a trophy.
There are benchmarks slowly being released to measure social sustainability. The Better Buildings partnership has been pioneering a rating that came out of Australia called NABERS; it’s effectively a new way of measuring operational carbon to prove your buildings sustainable. It requires submission of data throughout the lifecycle of the building, and you always have to be sustainable. I think that will hit the UK market soon as a benchmark of environmental sustainability.”
Other emerging benchmarks are certifications such as SmartScore – it reviews how smart a building is. The Smart Building Certification looks at how digitally connected buildings are, and the Reset Building Data Standard reviews whether systems are interoperable within buildings
Andy Saull argues that wellbeing is definitely here to stay, and predicts we will see a shift towards scrutinising our working environments.
“You work in your office for most of your working adult life. You can spend 9-10 hours a day in an office quite easily for five days a week. Yet we do not scrutinise it. Why? There’s a wonderful statistic bandied around that 90% of the average occupier’s cost is on their staff, 9% on their rent, 1% on their utility bill. So, if we can start measuring an uplift in theproductivity of their staff, that is financially far more viable than telling them about an energy-saving on the utility.
Wellbeing is not only here to stay; it’s here to take over”.
amBX enable smart buildings with an interoperable control platform, SmartCore. Smart lighting control and monitoring is one of the key features, in particular circadian lighting/human-centric lighting. This helps to improve health and wellbeing as it maintains natural body clocks, ensuring occupants receive the right amount, quality, colour and intensity of light at the right times of the day.