As the global social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic emerge
, indoor air quality, for example, has emerged as a top priority for keeping building occupants safe and healthy. Workplaces and remote work arrangements are being reimagined by business owners, while retailers and restaurant operators continue to convert their physical spaces for social distancing or, in some cases, for an entirely new use.
In this context, the expectations of asset owners from office, retail, hotel, and residential users have grown exponentially, and there is no shortage of new challenges and opportunities for commercial landlords
Sustainable environments with ergonomic furnishings, biophilic elements, natural daylight, and living green walls are meeting demands for lower operating costs, increased performance, and improved occupant well-being, as are healthy buildings with natural ventilation, enhanced thermal comfort, improved air quality, and green purchasing policies. One of many innovative examples is a manufacturer of smart windows that tint automatically based on outdoor and indoor conditions, improving people's health and wellness while lowering energy consumption.
The digital twin — essentially a virtual copy of a building — is another example of how technology is being used to transform the real estate industry. By leveraging data analysis, building simulation, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation, digital twins have the potential to help building owners and operators bridge the physical and virtual worlds. The digital twin's resulting assessment, calibration, modelling, and scenario planning capabilities enable more efficient operations, reduced maintenance, increased energy savings, and real-time decision-making support for the physical building. The health of a building
will be considered an amenity by its occupants as landlords take steps to improve air quality inside their buildings through smart building.
Overall, healthy buildings improve occupant satisfaction, leasing rates, and building value. Buildings with better air quality and more natural light have lower absenteeism and, as a result, lower turnover and higher worker productivity, resulting in financial savings and increased value for the business. The same advantages apply to retail and residential buildings.
Landlords and commercial tenants are discovering that recognized standards, such as WELL and Fitwel, are enabling an effective framework and leading practices in the ownership, occupancy, and management of their physical environments as they develop, implement, and manage healthy building efforts.
A sustainable and healthy building prioritizes resource efficiency (energy, water, and materials) while enhancing positive building impacts on human health and the environment. Building owners and occupiers who are proactive in furthering these efforts are not only building resilience now, but also preparing for what comes next and beyond.