Since the pandemic, there has been a high demand for improving the quality of all indoor environments, including commercial properties. People are more conscious of the health risks that poor air quality imposes, which has forced commercial landlords to be more proactive in optimizing their buildings. If landlords want to charge premium leases, attract and retain tenants, they can’t sit back and ignore the new demands for the indoor environment.
In this episode of The ChangeMakers in CRE, Michael Grant, COO of Metrikus, chats with Tom Wallace about how data can help landlords monitor their environments and deliver more efficient and healthier spaces.
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How proactive landlords can provide peace of mind to tenants
One of the biggest issues still impacting indoor environments post-pandemic is social distancing. People remain very conscious of going into crowded spaces and this has seen a rise in occupancy and indoor air quality monitoring systems. People count sensors are being used by companies to determine the number of occupants in a space at a specific time. By sharing this information with their tenants, landlords are providing greater p peace of mind to occupiers.
“A couple of our U.S. landlords, post-lockdown, wanted to ensure they were not overfilling the rooftop terraces, gyms, and other areas. So we put footfall, or people count sensors in for them. By doing that, people were quite comfortable going into a space because they knew how many people were already there.
Then indoor air quality is the obvious next one. We have kiosk mode, which shows you live indoor air quality, which we built in conjunction with one of our customers, GSK. Doing two of those things can quickly put customers and users of your buildings at ease because many people are still worried post-lockdown.”
Monitoring the right data to run buildings more efficiently
Optimizing the building is not just for tenants with landlords and building owners able to reap huge benefits from tracking indoor environment data. Michael shared how the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, used the data from air quality sensors to fix a long-running heating issue.
"Ralph James, the head of facilities and operations at the Met Office, actually won a raffle at an event that we were hosting. He took six indoor air quality sensors and placed them strategically in his office because they were getting complaints about hot and cold spots.
Sure enough, the building management system (BMS) and the sensors were saying two different things. BMS sensors are fixed on the wall, so you can't do much with them. But when you're using wireless sensors, you can move them around, put them in places, and start to target areas.
He went from 6 to 60 sensors all over the office, which helped him with several things. Number one, they eventually found a crack in the installation within the building that was letting cold air in that they hadn't seen for years. So there were energy savings there.
Also, their temperature and humidity sensors weren't calibrated as they should, so they were out by a couple of degrees in some areas. With the help of our wireless sensors, Ralph had that fixed.”
Small steps will make a big difference
Buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions. By lowering the energy cost and energy usage of a building, you will also lower the carbon footprint. ESG initiatives are becoming more prevalent these days and optimizing energy consumption is an excellent way to future-proof buildings.
“Where we are now with kilowatt usage compared to where we need to be - we need to halve that. Tesco has got a saying here that, ‘Every little helps’. We all need to start because we can reduce it. Small actions can make some big changes.”