Honeywell has recently published a survey report stating that 93% of surveyed facility managers within the education vertical have experienced at least one emergency incident stemming from infrastructure malfunction during the last 12 months, and 43% report a physical site or cybersecurity breach in that time.
This report, “Rethinking Education Facilities as Digital Entities,” the second in Honeywell’s 2021 Building Trends series, presents the assessments, challenges and priorities of education facility managers in the United States, Germany and China.
“Education facility managers are tasked not only with creating an environment conducive to learning but also with protecting the safety of their students, staff and campuses while at the same time managing new challenges to address asynchronous learning,” said Michael Cavanaugh, vice president and general manager, Building Management Systems, Honeywell Building Technologies. “Physical safety tops their list of concerns as they also shift emphasis to areas like improving indoor air quality, which has been shown to positively impact student performance.”
It highlights current conditions in school facilities, spanning both geographical regions and education levels — from pre-kindergarten through primary, secondary, trade schools, colleges and universities.
Facility managers voice their concerns about physical infrastructures, such as outdated HVAC systems, as well as plans to invest in digital infrastructure to enhance site security, occupant safety, building health and emergency response.
The survey results from education facility managers across all three countries underscore five key themes:
Security and safety are top priorities. Half (52%) of respondents rank site security as a top priority, including 34% who say improving site security through video surveillance, access control and/or asset security systems is their top priority over the next 12 to 18 months.
Healthy buildings remain a focus area. Compared to their pre-pandemic priorities, 63% of surveyed education facility managers are now more willing to invest in healthy building solutions. A majority (58%) of respondents list a healthy building as a top priority now and slightly more (60%) say it will remain a top priority beyond COVID-19.
Other top areas for improvement include creating a healthier, safer environment for occupants (65%); minimizing downtime or disruptions (71%); and achieving or increasing energy efficiency (71%).
A smart school is a key to a healthier, safer and more secure school. Across all three countries, 64% of respondents are more likely to invest in smart building solutions today than they were pre-pandemic, and 56% say the ability to manage all building systems through a single platform that provides unified data and insights is one of the most important aspects of a smart building.