Smart building technology is touted as the next advance in building management, but the cost, complication, and lack of local installations can be inhibitors for implementation, even with all of the potential benefits. The Tower Companies, a family-owned DC real estate firm, had been evaluating the potential for smart technology to improve building efficiency, indoor health and occupant comfort, but they weren’t looking to install it—until an opportunity arose through the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Partnership. Their internal analysis and discussion revealed that it was worth taking a leap of faith. The decision was less about sustainability and more about positioning Tower for market leadership in a competitive commercial real estate market that will increasingly rely on building automation to enhance operational efficiency and indoor environmental quality for tenant comfort. That risk will pay off in a post-pandemic world, as the system they installed can monitor occupancy, air quality, and a number of other data points—which will lower operating costs, increase ENERGY STAR scores, and attract tenants concerned with indoor health and wellness.

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