Chicago Tower First in North America to Nab Top Smart Building Rating

Accolade from WiredScore goes to The John Buck Company's 151 North Franklin Street

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WiredScore, the digital connectivity and smart building rating system, has awarded The John Buck Company’s 151 North Franklin Street in Chicago with the first SmartScore Platinum certification in North America, the developer announced today.

SmartScore certification aims to identify smart buildings that deliver exceptional user experience, drive cost efficiency, deliver high standards of sustainability, promote healthy environments, according to WiredScore. Plus they are future-proof. Previously, 151 North Franklin Street received the WiredScore Platinum certification for digital connectivity, so now it is the only building in North America to achieve both top ratings.

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“One fifty one North Franklin is a revolutionary office building offering the most technologically advanced, sustainable and forward-looking infrastructure for building occupants and guests,” John A. Buck II, chairman and CEO of The John Buck Company, said in a statement. “Partnering with WiredScore to achieve SmartScore certification validates 151’s true asset value and best-in-class design.”

Only the top “5 to 10 percent” of buildings rated by WiredScore achieve Platinum certification in any measure, said Tom Redmayne, North American managing director for the company.

“SmartScore, which we launched in April this year, is the first global smart building certification,” said Redmayne. “It looks much more at the smart building systems and integrations to understand what best-in-class digital infrastructure looks like. SmartScore is about the smart building systems and user experiences on the front end. It’s a much more sophisticated and harder scorecard for a building to achieve.”

By way of comparison, WiredScore is rating 800 million square feet of building space globally, while SmartScore is assessing 40 million square feet, Redmayne said. Among the reasons fewer owners and developers are working with WiredScore to have their buildings certified on the SmartScore scale is the high level of technology that a building must achieve to be rated, Redmayne said.

“It’s amazing how many really top developers and landlords aren’t as forward-thinking on smart buildings,” he said. “This is a very fast-moving area of the market and it’s a really complex one, looking at things like cybersecurity, data integrity, governance, all the in-building systems and bringing those together to provide a tenant experience that can be integrated is really hard. Some of the best developers in the world are struggling to do this, so reaching a SmartScore Platinum certification truly is best in class.”

However, 151 North Franklin achieved SmartScore Platinum due in large part to The John Buck Company’s team assigned to the structure, whose goal was to produce a high-quality smart building, Redmayne said.

“They’ve really streamlined the building access so that personal devices can be used to securely access the building and call the elevator,” Redmayne said. “You don’t need to talk to building staff. There are no key fobs required.”

“And they have a control and monitoring centralization system for the building staff so they can interact and manage multiple building systems using a single web interface, making it easy for them to operate and monitor the efficiency of the building from a cyber and a governance perspective,” he continued. “I can’t talk about the details of it because those are quite sensitive, but what they have done is really go above and beyond to ensure that any tenant coming in there knows that they have the ability to monitor, maintain and understand any threats coming into the building.”

The John Buck Company opened its 35-story commercial office building at 151 North Franklin in Chicago’s Loop in June 2018 with the goal to make it the smartest and most connected property in the world. The building has already earned a Digie Award for “Most Intelligent Office Building,” LEED Core & Shell Gold certification, LEED EBOM v4.1 Gold certification, Energy Star certification, WiredScore Platinum certification, and a WELL Health-Safety Rating.

Philip Russo can be reached at prusso@commercialobserver.com.