Syska Hennessy and Third Millennium Group Launch Holistic Auditing Program To Measure Sustainability and Use of Smart Technologies

Syska Hennessy Group and real estate owner Third Millennium Group have launched a holistic auditing program that measures four aspects of building performance: indoor air quality, building automation systems and telecommunications infrastructure, sustainability, and execution (workflows and use of data).

Syska’s auditing team comprises experts in building automation systems, sustainability, and facilities management. The team conducted inaugural audits at two Third Millennium commercial properties in Chicago — 540 West Madison and 300 South Riverside. Third Millennium, which shared the resulting “scorecards” with tenants, plans to repeat the process with Syska every year.

“Third Millennium understands that in today’s competitive leasing environment, tenants care about multiple components of building performance; not just energy efficiency or technology,” says Syska associate partner Tom Grimard. “A LEED, WiredScore, or WELL certification on its own is no longer sufficient to sway leasing decisions.”

Celeste Villanueva, general manager at Third Millennium, reports that the firm is now applying lessons learned from the original audits. Although both properties earned excellent scores (one A and three A-minuses for 540 West; two As and two A-minuses for 300 South), Third Millennium is taking steps to improve the metrics. For instance, operations staff at both buildings are tracking kilowatt hours and water usage more closely and reviewing recycling initiatives with tenants.

“Now we have a scorecard to show tenants and investors, and a spreadsheet that guides our progress,” she says. “Although we aced the test, we want to continue the momentum.”

According to Christian Nazon, Syska senior associate, the auditing program represents a new model for engineers. As he notes, “Building operations today is a holistic enterprise. Energy tracking, for example, integrates with IoT applications. It’s important to measure not only the quality of systems and infrastructure, but also the quality and depth of integrations.”