May 25, 2022
As the world moves toward more integrated technology in buildings and sustainable practices, there has been an increasing focus on smart buildings. From providing peace of mind regarding occupant health to creating a comfortable, productive space, smart buildings provide value to tenants, property managers and building owners. This shifting focus is why UL and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) launched the SPIRE Smart Building Assessment™ in November 2021.
Part of the SPIRE Smart Buildings™ Program, the SPIRE Smart Building Assessment™ and Rating is the first comprehensive assessment and rating program for smart buildings. It is an in-depth assessment of smart buildings that recommends ways to improve performance and provides a UL SPIRE Smart Buildings verification. MRP Realty, a leading development, acquisition and construction management company, recently completed a SPIRE Smart Buildings™ Verified Verified Assessment. Learn more about MRP’s experience and the verified assessment process.
How is a SPIRE Smart Building Assessment™ conducted?
A SPIRE Smart Building Assessment has two main parts: a self-assessment and the SPIRE Smart Buildings™ verification and rating.
How is a Smart building self-assessed?
The self-assessment is customer-led and looks into the smart building’s technologies and processes. MRP completed the self-assessment for one of its existing properties online through the SPIRE Smart Buildings™ platform.
“We definitely learned a lot by completing the self-assessment. The criteria were laid out in a way that made sense, and it worked very smoothly,” said Mia Raths, property manager at D.C.-based MRP Realty. “We did have a few questions along the way, but UL was quick to help address them.”
Completing the self-assessment is an excellent way to learn more about your property, and it provides a baseline for the building’s current state. It’s also preparation for the verified assessment with UL.
How is a Smart building assessment verified?
This UL verification assessment is conducted by SPIRE Smart Buildings™ experts. An assessor works with the customer, evaluating integrated technologies and processes on-site and through virtual meetings. The UL assessors conducted pre-assessment meetings with MRP Property Manager to prepare them for the assessment.
“We expected the on-site time to be two full days, but it was actually one full day and just a few hours the next morning,” said Raths. “The assessors were very professional. They explained everything and were great to work with.”
Upon completing the SPIRE Smart Buildings verification, UL provides ratings and detailed recommendations through a performance improvement roadmap. “The assessment report was extremely insightful. I learned a lot about my building via the questions asked and the recommendations provided,” said Raths. The implementation roadmap provides customers with recommendations on improving the building performance in each of the six evaluated areas: power and energy, health and well-being, life and property safety, connectivity, cybersecurity and sustainability.
Who can benefit from working with SPIRE™?
A full SPIRE Smart Building Assessment™ followed by the suggested improvements may result in reduced operating costs, increased asset and brand value and an improved experience for occupants. It can also demonstrate to investors that an owner or manager is committed to their stated mission.
“The biggest benefit of the SPIRE program has been learning how to prioritize the improvements to get the biggest benefit that aligns with our corporate goals. You can always add a few steps to the basics you do in a building to help improve them,” said Raths. “I learned about a few things I hadn’t considered, and I will definitely be sharing the findings with the building owners.”
With that approach in mind, SPIRE can benefit a variety of customers and industries, including:
- Building owners and landlords
- Property management companies
- Building tenants
- Consulting firms
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
- Smart equipment manufacturers
- Technology developers
SPIRE can help customers in any stage — whether building new, looking to integrate more efficiencies or improving upon the smart technologies they have in place. If you are interested in an assessment or learning more, visit the SPIRE Smart Buildings™ page.