The 24th annual RealComm | IBcon conference was held in Orlando, FL June 13th – 16th. The four-day event was themed "The Great Reconfiguration" and attended by leading real estate, PropTech, and investment companies worldwide. The conference's theme brought into focus the changes commercial real estate is undergoing in a post-pandemic world. The topics of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Environmental Social Governance (ESG) dominated the conference agenda.
The conference's opening speaker was Dr. Joseph Allen, assistant professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and author of "Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity." In addition to speaking about the nine (9) foundations of a healthy building, Dr. Allen highlighted the negative economic impact of poor IAQ. Productivity losses due to poor IAQ cost the U.S. about $25 to $150 billion annually.
IAQ's role in employee acquisition and retention in a "talent-driven job market" was highlighted by a panel of speakers representing Tech giants. Panelist Victor Sanchez Sr. Director, Head of Global Design and Build at LinkedIn, said, "when and how people work is at the top of the list of employee concerns. Number two on that list is the concern over health and safety in returning to the office. Ventilation and improved IAQ practices are vital to the employee experience".
Building IAQ standards was a reoccurring topic that carried across many of the conference's panel discussions and speaker presentations.
Few speakers referred to ASHRAE standards. Instead, speakers cited IAQ standards set by Well, Fitwell, RESET, and LEED. RESET was the most cited standard. Speakers in several different sessions believe that building owners will soon be required to report on ESG formally. This requirement would be to IAQ what Energy Star ratings are to energy efficiency standards currently mandated by large cities and metropolitan areas.
Market analysts project the IAQ industry (technologies specifically focused on improving IAQ) will grow to $15 Billion dollars over the next decade. The attention and focus given to IAQ at this year’s Realcomm | IBcon conference is certainly lends support to that projection.
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