Business Brains

Office buildings in Los Angeles are smartest; New York, just average

Posting in Cities

About that elevator pitch, you might have more time to give it than you thought.

Many of you reading this probably spend lots of time in some cubicle in some corporate park or high-rise office buildings. So here's what I'm asking today: Don't you have a right to expect that your place of business be the greenest, healthiest environment possible?

Or, at least, that technology at work be geared to make you as efficient as possible?

The reality is that we've been moving faster in this regard at home than we have at the office.

A new Smarter Buildings Survey of 6,486 U.S. office workers by IBM shows that use of automation and modern technologies in your place of work has failed to keep up what you've come to expect at home. The survey suggests that this lack of automation -- this lack of "smart" technologies for "smart" buildings -- as a source of inefficiency.

The survey was conducted across 16 cities. IBM has created a Smart Buildings Index based on the results, which looked at the following: elevator wait times, Internet access, badge access, lightning sensors and automation, use of renewable energy sources, low-flow toilet installations, and the use of "air-friendly" products. Here's the whole report.

Los Angeles, which just showed up on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of the greenest cities when it comes to buildings, was also tops in the IBM survey. A full 40 percent of respondents from the City of Angeles said they work in buildings where lighting and climate control systems are controlled by sensors to keep tabs on when a room has occupants and when it can go idle. That compares with 27 percent on average. Los Angeles repondents were also more likely to work in buildings that are using renewable energy sources.

Oh, and about that elevator pitch. Better work on that. The survey shows that 13 percent of the respondents have been stuck in an elevator over the past year and 25 percent believe that the elevators in their building aren't all that well coordinated. The cumulative time that people spent waiting for elevators in New York, as an example, was 16.6 years. Los Angeles didn't do all that well here either: The survey suggests Los Angeles workers cumulatively wasted 8.7 years of work time waiting for the doors to open.

The chart below shows the amount of time (cumulatively, in years) that survey respondents spent waiting for or stuck in elevators over the past 12 months.

Image: Jason Rojas/Flickr

Share this

Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure