Blog - Commercial

14 March 2018


Smart buildings are a relatively new concept in the Sydney property landscape. As more and more smart buildings are completed in the CBD, however, the commercial real estate market is shifting accordingly.

At this stage, tenants have only a few smart technologies on their wish-list, top of the list being:

  • Destination control in lifts to get staff up and down faster
  • High NABERs and Green Star ratings that measure the environmental performance of buildings and tenancies
  • A modern and effective CCTV system
  • Full wifi capabilities and phone coverage (including in lifts)
  • High-speed data capabilities (whether fibre-optic or NBN)

This will change swiftly as corporations become more aware of the multiple advantages of a tenancy in a smart building and as developers such as Mirvac and Grocon complete more smart office towers in the Sydney CBD.

How Traditional Buildings Compare To Smart Buildings

Looking up at modern commercial buildings

As tenants become more sophisticated, traditionally run buildings will struggle to meet the expectation for innovative and flexible workplaces that have the flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of an organisation while reducing energy and other costs.

Soon tenants will be adding to their wish list, mandated reporting of tenancy and base building environmental impact, real-time reporting of outgoing utility costs, predictive maintenance automation, measurement of spatial utilisation, flexible security, integrated, self-manageable building services with extended operating hours and much, much more.

How Smart Technology Will Shape Commercial Real Estate in Sydney

Image of solar panels, a smart way for companies to save on energy

The future lies in smart buildings such as the EY Centre at 200 George Street, the bulk of which has been leased by Ernst & Young as its Sydney head office. For this project, smart technology experts, Meld Strategies, worked with the developer, Mirvac, to develop a ‘Smart Tenancy’ outcome that uses enhanced methods of data gathering to more accurately measure the consumption of power and drinkable and non-drinkable water on each floor.

A series of building key performance indicators were also developed as part of a ‘Living Lab’, to monitor real-time performance of the building’s unique closed cavity façade system, slab deflection levels and slab temperature gradients.

Other sensors measure thermal comfort, indoor air quality, acoustic comfort and lighting levels, displayed on a series of building dashboards.

A Smart Tenancy phone app can also be used to view this information in real-time, plus provide employees with information regarding the availability of work settings and meeting rooms.

The Future of Sydney Commercial Property

Looking up at modern glass skyscrapers

Not only are new smart buildings rising in Sydney, but existing buildings are being successfully fitted with sophisticated smart technologies.

An example is Legion House, a heritage-listed former YWCA, in the heart of the CBD. The three-storey sandstone building, now with an additional two floors, is rated as one of the top smart buildings in the world, and one of the most sustainable.

Designed by the same architects as EY Centre, Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT), Legion House is a zero-carbon building that creates its own renewable energy on-site using a process called biomass gasification, which uses paper waste collected from a neighbouring office tower.

Air-conditioning is provided using chilled beam technology which supplies a high level of indoor air quality for occupants. The building is also water-balanced, with all water needs met through rainfall captured on the roof using advanced water conservation technology, high-efficiency fixtures, vacuum toilets and quality rainwater recycling.

In the future, traditional buildings, run in traditional ways, will be left languishing in the real estate market as tenants’ expectations grow. Smart investors and developers should start refurbishing them and incorporating smart technology as a matter of urgency.  

Talk to the experts

Want to find out more about commercial spaces to buy or lease within smart buildings, or how you can upgrade your commercial property? Speak to the team at TGC.

Our agents will provide you with qualitative information, to make sure your property search turns up the right results!

Date: 14 March 2018 Author: Steve Printezis
Portrait of Steve Printezis | Property Management Team TGC

About the author:

Steve Printezis

Steve has 20 years of real estate experience. Previously working with Colliers International, Charter Hall and Stockland, his specialities include property management, developing asset plans, leading high-performing teams, and developing in-house systems and processes.

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