Business people walking across bridge to modern office building
By Stephanie O'Neill

Top 4 trends influencing the ROI of smart buildings

In a recent webinar exploring the ROI of smart buildings, industry expert Dr. Matthew Marson discussed how organizations can achieve ROI when integrating smart technologies. For CRE leaders hoping to capitalize on the benefits of smart buildings, there is good news. According to his research, Dr. Marson estimates that for every $1 invested in smart building technology, companies get $3 in return over five years.*

But how do they do it?

Dr. Marson highlighted four key trends organizations are focusing on achieving:

1. Meeting net-zero goals

When it comes to climate declarations and net-zero targets, even if they have an action plan, a lot of companies don’t really know where to begin. By leveraging advanced technologies and data analytics, organizations can start by reducing energy consumption, optimizing HVAC systems, and improving waste management. Implementing HVAC analytics software, such as JLL Technologies’ Hank, can deliver significant energy savings and pave the way for a net-zero carbon future. In addition, investing in intelligent lighting and indoor air quality monitoring can also contribute to carbon reduction efforts.

2. Reducing and redesigning spaces while enhancing experiences

Organizations are increasingly looking to reduce their physical footprints while maintaining high-quality workplace experiences. To reach this goal, they need to employ data-driven decision-making to optimize space utilization. This requires them to collect and analyze relevant data. By leveraging occupancy sensors and analytics solutions like VergeSense, organizations can glean insights into space utilization patterns and design collaborative workspaces accordingly. This approach not only improves productivity but also yields financial benefits, such as the cost savings realized through effective space allocation.

3. Delivering equitable hybrid experiences

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of hybrid work models, emphasizing the need for equitable experiences for both in-office and remote employees. Integrating technology solutions that facilitate seamless remote collaboration, such as immersive video conferencing and interactive user applications, can help bridge the gap between physical and virtual workspaces. Additionally, it’s important to consider employee preferences and involve them in decision-making processes to create inclusive and engaging work environments.

4. Implementing workplace technologies

With all of the developments in artificial intelligence and other technologies over the past couple of years, organizations must consider what’s next for the tools they offer employees in their workplaces. Next-generation user interfaces, such as voice assistants and immersive technologies, can enhance workplace experiences. By leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, organizations can customize interactions and automate routine tasks, making the workplace more intuitive and efficient. These technologies offer opportunities to improve productivity, optimize facility management, and enhance employee satisfaction with their workplace.

How do they measure success?

Financial metrics to measure smart building ROI

Dr. Marson introduced nine measurable metrics across three categories that contribute to the financial value of smart building investments.


  • Reduced HVAC energy
  • Reduced lighting energy
  • Improved waste management


  • Reduced facilities and operations spend
  • Reduced occupied space
  • Reduced IT maintenance spend


  • Reduced productivity leakage
  • Reduced employee sick days
  • Improved employee retention

How do they access these metrics?

Invest in smart building technologies

In order to collect and measure these metrics, organizations need the right technology solutions in place. Dr. Marson recommends:

  • HVAC analytics
  • Intelligent lighting
  • Occupancy monitoring
  • IAQ monitoring
  • Intelligent waste
  • Interactive user applications
  • Seamless journeys
  • Pervasive connectivity

Where to start

Organizations can achieve considerable ROI through intelligent energy management, proactive space optimization, and advanced technologies that make their buildings more efficient, productive, and environmentally friendly.

To successfully tap into the potential of smart buildings, organizations should start by:

  • Defining clear objectives
  • Implementing a data governance strategy
  • Developing a roadmap for implementation

While Dr. Marson says the time to start was last year, given what needs to be done and difficult market conditions for many industries, he assures organizations that it’s not too late. You can still start now and achieve ROI with smart buildings.

Watch Smart Buildings: Where’s the ROI? to learn more.


* This ratio holds true across most currencies. More square footage can yield higher savings.