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Measure Your Space Performance via the 4 Pillars of Building Intelligence

You should monitor and measure four pillars of building intelligence to truly understand if an indoor space effectively meets the needs of those who use, manage, and invest in it. 

These pillars are occupancy, indoor air quality, energy usage, and indoor health. 

Read more below about how each of these pillars help determine if your space is being maximized for its intended purpose and if there are opportunities for improvement. 

Building Intelligence Pillar 1: Occupancy

Understanding occupancy analytics throughout your space gets you the highest level of effectiveness and performance from each square foot. With an accurate capture of where people are, where they’re not, and how often different spaces are at peak occupancy or sit vacant, you can improve space planning and management to cut down costs by reducing underused space, delaying expensive expansion, and ultimately, optimizing energy usage over time.

With access to real-time occupancy analytics—like peaks, lows, passive presence, and vacancies—you can analyze usage trends to understand the alternating workflows of your building from one day to the next. With these insights in hand, you can make smarter and more effective decisions around how to reorient your spaces for the highest performance while also adapting and automating HVAC cycles, lighting, and cleaning schedules to intelligently match the ebbs and flows of people throughout your spaces. 

Building Intelligence Pillar 2: Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is another way to measure the effectiveness of our spaces. After all, clean air helps us live and function most effectively. 

Monitoring and improving on indoor air quality by tracking if there is adequate ventilation is important because it not only helps keep the people in your spaces comfortable, productive, and healthy; it also helps reduce unnecessary energy costs from racking up.  

Unfortunately, many of the commercial spaces and buildings that we occupy have not evolved as quickly as our needs on this front. The biggest issue with existing building ventilation standards is that they focus more on physical comfort rather than keeping indoor air clean and well-circulated, two key components in preventing carbon dioxide build-up, exposure to high formaldehyde levels, or the spread of airborne microorgansims and viruses.

Building Intelligence Pillar 3: Energy Use

Energy usage and spend across your building, especially as it relates to heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting, is‌ one of the most important measures for identifying the performance of your building. Why? Because it’s the costliest. 

Commercial buildings spend a lot of money on energy, with HVAC and lighting accounting for 60-70% of energy spend. In general, office buildings tend to spend more than $27 billion on energy every year, while education, public assembly, and hospital buildings aren’t too far behind. 

It’s a common myth that energy-efficient buildings result in sacrificing workplace comfort and health. However, energy-efficient buildings often feature advanced ventilation and air filtration solutions that optimize air flow based on occupancy, which helps to maintain optimal indoor air quality. Proper ventilation reduces the concentration of pollutants, allergens, and microorganisms, leading to healthier indoor environments overall.

Building Intelligence Pillar 4: Indoor Health

In any indoor space, there are various levels of risk. Spaces that are densely packed and occupied for longer periods tend to have a higher risk. More social interactions or physical exertion that increase breathing also increase the potential for the spread of germs. On the other hand, more sparsely populated spaces with shorter dwell times, and quieter environments where individuals tend to be still, such as private offices, are lower at risk. But the method for measuring risk in both space types is based on very general guidelines and requires refinement.

To accurately assess the risk of any space, factors such as room dimensions, the HVAC system in place, safety protocols, and observed behaviors within a specific space need to be considered. Real-time monitoring of occupancy and indoor air quality, as well as cleaning practices, contribute to active risk management. 

Download our Building Intelligence Index to optimize for energy savings.

Now that you’ve been introduced to the four pillars of building intelligence, you can start using these measurements as a method to save on energy consumption and costs while also creating a more optimized environment for your building user. 

Learn more about how to use integrated building analytics to identify and create energy-saving opportunities tailored to your spaces via our Building Intelligence Index

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