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Honest Buildings: the social network for buildings

Does the world need another social networking site, especially one that connects us to buildings?
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Written by Sun Kim on

Does the world need another social networking site, especially one that connects us to buildings?

Released in beta last month, Honest Buildings is a social networking site that brings together architects, builders, occupants, owners, managers, and buildings. The site provides a platform not only for transparent building data but also for the people who use, occupy, design, build, and manage buildings. The site builds on other social networking sites (e.g. Yelp, LinkedIn, Architizer) to allow anyone and everyone to voice their opinions about the buildings they inhabit, visit, and use.

Honest Buildings is based on the idea that transparency about the built environment will push building owners and developers to compete on sustainability measures. Riggs Kubiak, CEO of Honest Buildings, started the site to promote sustainability. As the global sustainability lead for a New York real estate firm, Kubiak found that even though building owners and operators understood the benefits of life cycle savings, it was still difficult to get them to commit to green standards. What did get the owners to buy in was pushing their competitive buttons by pointing out the sustainable features of competitors’ buildings.

Jeffrey Lee for Architect Magazine writes that

Kubiak says that Honest Buildings could serve as a driver of innovation. “When displayed in a transparent manner, it [the information] can foster a sense of competition in the market,” he says. “Other owners or managers will say, ‘How can I bring my project to match the market?’ ” Kubiak envisions the website hosting innovation challenges that spotlight the most groundbreaking projects in a variety of verticals.

By highlighting best practices and case studies, Honest Buildings could become a catalyst for swifter and more productive partnerships. The built environment will speed up in the future, Kubiak predicts. “Transactions and ideas will be shared more quickly than they are today,” he says. “I’m hopeful that this creates ideas and concepts that keep pushing architecture further.

Just as each user has a personal profile, each building has a profile that lists basic data on building type, size, architect, cost, and parking. The profile also tracks reviews, comments, renovation and retrofit projects, and energy efficiency. The data, contributed by users and professional organizations such as the USGBC, is integrated with Google mapping technology.

The public building profiles and projects can be viewed without registering. Registered users can set up yet another personal profile and then participate and contribute to the reviews, comments, and photos. The site also offers a Premium account to members of the design and construction industries that allows them to upload and maintain portfolios.

So how would someone use the site? Commercial and residential buyers and tenants can search for space in particular neighborhoods based on specific criteria. Building owners and managers can keep track of their building profiles to improve their buildings. All users can search through portfolios and projects to find designers, builders, and other partners for potential projects. All these networks would be visible on the building profiles.

The strongest part of the site is that there is no other aggregated database with this kind of information publicly available. The weakest part is the same as with any open source information site -- the accuracy and amount of information relies on the character and number of people who participate. Do people care enough about the buildings they occupy to set up another profile and voice their opinions?

Via: Architect, The Atlantic Cities, Good

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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