Decoding Design

Honest Buildings adds 250,000 buildings to social network

Honest Buildings adds 250,000 buildings to social network

Posting in Architecture

The social networking site for buildings increases its available data to include four billion square feet of space.

This morning Honest Buildings is releasing information for over 250,000 commercial and mixed use buildings in New York City, representing more than four billion square feet of space. The expansion of their data is a five-fold increase from the site's initial launch just six weeks ago.

Honest Buildings bills itself as the social networking site for buildings and the people who own, manage, design, and live in them. The free site offers information on buildings including square footage, who owns and/or manages the building, construction and repair projects, renovations, and green building certifications such as LEED and ENERGYSTAR. The data is aggregated from a number of different public sources and proprietary partnerships as well as user generated input. Kind of like Yelp, users can rate and comment on buildings.

The site counts among its many users and sources thousands of top real estate developers, brokers, architects, engineers, and energy efficiency and construction companies. For example, the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services, one of the site’s public partners, manages all of the projects on municipal buildings throughout New York City. The office had no good way of sharing their information until Honest Buildings.

Founded by Riggs Kubiak, former Global Head of Sustainability for real estate firm Tishman Speyer, Honest Buildings offers an easy way to see the energy efficiency of a building and translate it into operating costs. After years of trying to prove that energy efficient buildings add to an owner's bottom line, Kubiak created a visual way to compare--and compete against--other properties.

“After not getting very far very fast I decided one day to take out a map of New York City and show what the competition was doing at their various buildings. The reaction was as close to instant as you can get in the real estate industry, and a light bulb went off in my head. Transparency is the key, and by unlocking building information we could much more efficiently connect owners, service providers and tenants, catalyzing transactions and increasing demand for high performance buildings.”

In a press release for Honest Building's data expansion, Francis J. Murray Jr., the president and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority says, “The transparency Honest Buildings is bringing to the New York City real estate market has the potential to be a game changer. By providing actionable information about a building and connecting the various stakeholders, the platform makes it much easier to find energy efficient solutions for buildings throughout New York City.”

The transparency of the data, the site's founders hope, will increase competition and demand for energy efficient, higher quality buildings and projects.

Honest Buildings is currently focused on NYC as it ramps up its service but it is available internationally. The site plans on rolling out to dozens of cities across the U.S. in the next six months.

Related on SmartPlanet:
Honest Buildings: the social network for buildings
Architects promote transparency in choosing green building materials

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure