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Updated smart building rating system addresses industry changes

Nov. 13, 2023
The SPIRE 2.0 rating system will keep pace with evolving cybersecurity landscape, emerging connectivity technologies, and the rise of ESG initiatives.

In 2020, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and UL Solutions launched the SPIRE smart building assessment and rating program in a coordinated effort with numerous industry experts to help identify, prioritize, and promote smart building performance. Since the launch of the groundbreaking framework, along with its initial pilot programs and assessment criteria, significant changes in industry and market trends have necessitated updates to the program to address the evolving smart buildings landscape.

This fall, the two groups will release SPIRE 2.0 with a new, updated assessment criteria developed with the hard work and dedication of TIA’s Smart Building Working Group members. Updated SPIRE assessment criteria for power and energy, health and well-being, and life and property safety will follow in 2024.

A holistic framework for smart buildings

The SPIRE program consists of an expertly curated, objective, and holistic framework that sets forth technology-agnostic metrics to gauge the ability of a building’s systems, processes, and infrastructure to optimize across six facility operations criteria: power and energy, health and well-being, life and property safety, connectivity, cybersecurity, and sustainability.

The SPIRE program includes a free online self-assessment for building owners and operators to easily gain insight into their building performance related to the six key aspects. It also has a verified assessment component that results in a rating and detailed recommendations through a performance improvement roadmap.

As industry standards-making bodies, TIA and UL Solutions continually evaluate and improve programs and standards to meet real-life business needs in parallel with the latest market trends, technologies, and the global economy. Significant changes in the cybersecurity landscape, emerging connectivity technologies and trends, and the rise of environment, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives—combined with objective feedback from multiple SPIRE verified assessments and program participant expertise—called for the redesign of SPIRE smart building assessment criteria for cybersecurity, connectivity, and sustainability.

Updates to the rating system

Some of the changes industry professionals can expect to see in SPIRE 2.0 include the following:

  • Cybersecurity assessment criteria have been updated to provide an improved building-centric approach that more closely addresses requirements and performance related to the built environment, including expanding OT exposure and the vulnerabilities that come with OT/IT convergence. The updated criteria also address growing cybersecurity governance from a global perspective.
  • Connectivity assessment criteria have been updated to address emerging technologies such as single-pair Ethernet and fault-managed power while improving global recognition of standards impacting networks and their designs. The updated criteria also better address real-world deployments, physical campus attributes, and regional practices to deliver more meaningful results.
  • Sustainability assessment criteria has added a new governance section to complement the environmental sustainability of a building in alignment with rising ESG initiatives. It also expands coverage and clarifies several areas, including water management, waste management, indoor environmental quality, building lifecycle and operational management, and building management systems.

In addition to these updated assessment criteria, SPIRE Version 2.0 reorganizes content, adds clarification, and streamlines the information to provide a more straightforward, agnostic framework that simplifies the assessment process for both verified assessors and clients.

Access to the SPIRE Self-Assessment and additional information on how a SPIRE Verified Assessment can improve and optimize the performance and value of smart buildings can be found on the UL website. Industry professionals who are interested in participating in the Smart Building Working Group that develops SPIRE holistic assessment criteria and shapes the future of smart buildings should contact [email protected].

About the Author

Marta Soncodi

Marta Soncodi is the Smart Buildings Program Director at the Telecommunications Management Association (TIA), developing assessment criteria and services for Smart Buildings. She has over 30 years of ICT industry experience as a software engineering manager and program manager responsible for global telecom projects development, business process automation solutions, and new technology investigation and prototyping. At TIA, Marta has previously managed standards committees and the Edge Data Centers program and has investigated a large variety of Smart Buildings technologies, standards and protocols on topics like in-building connectivity, IoT, energy harvesting, LoRaWAN, and LiFi. Marta holds MSc in Computer Science and MBA in telecom degrees and is a certified PMI PMP project manager.

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