Global safety company UL and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) have partnered to develop and launch the SPIRE Smart Building Program, an objective assessment and rating program for smart buildings.

The program consists of two components: the SPIRE Self-Assessment, available online now in version 1.0, and the SPIRE UL-Verified Assessment and Rating, set to launch in Q1 2021. The Self-Assessment provides users with an initial exposure to the assessment’s six criteria—life and property safety, health and well-being, connectivity, power and energy, cybersecurity, and sustainability—and the ways in which they describe the current state of a smart building. The SPIRE Verified Assessment and Rating includes an in-depth UL audit of that building, and a successful assessment provides a UL Verified Mark, a plaque, and a building score based on the program’s criteria.

"The integration of all building systems is now technically possible and is becoming a necessity for success in a very competitive market," says David Stehlin, CEO of the TIA. "Fully integrated systems are enabling advanced building automation that helps increase efficiency, optimize operations, and enhance overall occupant productivity and well-being. By assessing, validating, and rating key building elements that take into consideration the entirety of a smart building, SPIRE can simultaneously help improve asset performance, ROI, and tenant relations."

The program was conceived as part of an initiative to share smart building ecosystem insights between the companies, and developed over the past two years in collaboration with Corning Optical Communications, which served as a pilot partner to test the program’s assessment strategies. Its six criteria categories were developed with input from a TIA industry working group, including more than 60 commercial real estate, REIT, technology, and telecommunications industry professionals.

"In these unprecedented times, those overseeing smart building assets are looking for guidance to help better align performance strategies, planning tactics, and operational efficiencies," says Rachna Stegall, vice president and SPIRE Smart Building Program lead at UL. "The SPIRE Smart Building Program does just that by providing insight to smart building technologies and outcomes while helping to empower informed investment decisions about where to focus technology, building enhancements, and business optimizations."