Modern Energy Management

Kilroy Realty Corporation: How buildings are hurting us and the environment

September 05, 2019 Season 1 Episode 2
Modern Energy Management
Kilroy Realty Corporation: How buildings are hurting us and the environment
Chapters
Modern Energy Management
Kilroy Realty Corporation: How buildings are hurting us and the environment
Sep 05, 2019 Season 1 Episode 2
Nate Nilles, Amber Artrip, Sara Neff
Tune in to learn how Sara Neff uses data to understand how our buildings are damaging our health and the health of the environment.
Show Notes Transcript

Sara Neff is the SVP of Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. Her responsibilities span sustainability/ESG, energy management, diversity, and building health. Tune in to learn how Sara uses data to understand how our buildings are damaging our health and the health of the environment. In this epidode we discuss:

  • Importance of leadership buy-in on sustainability initiatives
  • How Kilroy tests tools and technologies in their sustainability Innovation lab
  • The importance of a strong relationship with IT 
  • Sara believes 100% carbon neutral buildings can happen now and why we can't wait.
  • Hear Sara's advice to other sustainability leaders

Tune into Sara Neff's Tedx talk for more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8_Tg5nVnDA&t=339s

Speaker 1:
0:00
Welcome to the modern energy management podcast. This is the very first podcast for Sustainability Energy and facility innovators to share their stories and learn energy and sustainability, best practices from their peers. I'm thrilled to be joined today by Nate nils, uh, my co host for the show.
Speaker 2:
0:18
Excited to be here for round two.
Speaker 1:
0:20
We are thrilled to be joined today by our very special guests, Sarah Neff, who is the senior vice president of sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. Welcome to the show. Sarah,
Speaker 3:
0:32
thanks so much for having me,
Speaker 2:
0:34
Sarah. Again, thank you so much for joining and you know, one of the things that I've taken away whenever we have the pleasure of seeing you speak at several events is you do a great job of balancing humor with facts and really important topics that I think are shifting the way people think about the built environment, really topics that make an impact. And we definitely want to get to the Ted talk because we enjoyed that, but I wanted to maybe get off by giving you an opportunity to do a little bit deeper dive to introduce yourself, how you got into sustainability. And the current roles and responsibilities with Kilroy. Okay.
Speaker 3:
1:15
Uh, sure. So, uh, I live in Los Angeles and like many people who live here. Um, at one time I was in, uh, the entertainment industry, so I'm married now to a television writer and I moved here because my boyfriend now husband, uh, has always wanted to be a TV writer and ended up starting to work in entertainment. And then after a few years I just got to the point of realizing that I could not possibly work on yet another show about white people in New York. Uh, I had just was so sick of that and I wasn't really excited about anything that we were creating. And a person who had gone to where I went undergrad had sort of similarly graduated from Hollywood and gone to business school to save the world. And that seemed like a really good, um, Tufts. And so I followed her footsteps, including going to the exact same school that she did. Um, I went, uh, to Columbia, which has a really great program for social enterprise. I went with the, uh, goal of figuring out how to combine financial and environmental interests. Um, and there's a joke about, oh, if you want to make God laugh, you make plans. But that was the plan and it's actually what I get to do. So, um, it's by very lucky happenstance that I ended up at Kilroy, uh, right after I graduated from business school and I have been here ever since.
Speaker 2:
2:46
That's great. So is he still writing?
Speaker 3:
2:50
He is still writing. Yeah, absolutely. He writes for Archer right now, which is on FX. He wrote for the tic, which was an Amazon show and got some fun stuff in development. So yeah, he's doing great.
Speaker 2:
3:02
So who's enjoying their role more or you or him?
Speaker 3:
3:06
Oh, me by far. I mean his is entirely just rejection and um, having people messed with your really good ideas of the seven and the other, whereas I live in a world of, you know, stability and being able to, uh, really affect a lot of change. So no, I wouldn't swap. Writers are amazing people, but they have to be much more resilient than I think I am to deal with, you know, years and years of struggling before they could make it work. So I'm happy where I am.
Speaker 2:
3:36
I love it. So it sounds like, you know, obviously sustainability has been really important in your life probably even before the shift to Grad school and the, the change to Kilroy. Maybe talk a little bit about that and then we'd love to dive in a little bit more just a on your roles and responsibilities at Kilroy today.
Speaker 3:
3:59
Sure. So I think I was one of the [inaudible] kids who grew up in the generation that believed that we were going to somehow save the world with what we did with our jobs, which is I think a fairly modern idea on that you, that your work has to have a whole lot of purpose and meaning. And what that meant is that I have since forever been really bad at jobs where I didn't find larger purpose and meaning in that. Um, and so after college I, um, I went to live in England for a while cause I wanted to see the world. And, um, my job there was fine. I was a secretary, but, um, that wasn't fulfilling. And so I went off and moved to India and did some teaching, uh, work over there and that was great and wanted to do more of that.
Speaker 3:
4:43
Came Back Shakespeare, non profit. Um, so yeah, it's a nice sort of a constant theme that I really felt the need, um, to feel like what I was doing with [inaudible] positively contributing, uh, to this world in order to sort of get the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. And I'm really lucky that I've been able to do that. And then at Kilroy, um, my role is sort of in two parts and each of those parts has sub. So I hope people are taking notes and creating venn diagrams. Um, so, uh, I am in charge of sustainability. Um, and that encompasses the work we do with existing buildings, energy, water, easy charging stations, recycling, compost, solar batteries, all that good stuff. Um, and then I also deal with all of that in the development pipeline. Um, so I was just on a call discussing how we're going to do water recycling on a big upcoming development project.
Speaker 3:
5:40
Um, and then I also deal with all of the reporting that goes along with sustainability all day, you know, doing this annual sustainability report. And then also things like breads and carbon disclosure project Dow Jones Sustainability Index. And then that part overlaps with sort of the second of my job, which is I'm also in charge of corporate social responsibility. That's a bit new. And for us that means I'm in charge of our diversity programs. So we're willing out unconscious bias training this year. We are a bit more transparent now with what we're doing on diversity. We disclosed it in our society. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Figured out there's that information to the Bloomberg terminal. So anybody who's looking up a killer, I can more easily find information about diversity here. And we're very proud of that. We're 57% female and 39% non white. And we have got women in the c suite in the board room and um, but we are trying to tell that story a bit louder. And then within that bucket also comes, uh, everything related to building health. And so we'll be talking about that later. I'm sure
Speaker 2:
6:46
that part's really interesting. D C I guess I don't hear that as much on the CSR side combined with what your core capabilities and focus are. Do you see that being unique to Kilroy or is that, you know, do you see a merge there because of the health and wellness part of it?
Speaker 3:
7:02
Yeah, I think health is this major force in real estate that hasn't had a really great place to sit. Um, because it's not exactly environmental or an eat is, but it's, it's not, doesn't fit so neatly into that bucket. And so when I got put in charge of corporate social responsibility, I really felt like health more belonged on that side of the business. But I've always been doing all of it. Even before we had a formal CSR program. We've had a health program for four years now and it's just been growing and growing. Um, and so I'm, I'm happy to know that it has an easier sort of spot to rest in when we do our reporting.
Speaker 2:
7:43
Yeah, it seems to make sense with the health and wellness side being such a, a focal point. And we'll talk about that from the Ted talk a little bit, but, uh, I know we've been incredibly impressed, um, with you taking Kilroy kind of from zero to 60, I guess in regards to their focus on energy and sustainability and wellness. It feels like they've made a huge jump and I think minds are changing, but we don't always see that was here cra clients and that they just may not value it as much. They may shift the cost of tenants or prioritizing other things. What do you think, and maybe it's since you've joined the team there, but what do you think makes Kilroy's so unique or kind of a driver on that side of things? What are you guys doing differently?
Speaker 3:
8:26
Right. So when I got to Kilroy, it's true, we didn't have a formal sustainability program. Um, and we really needed to sort of get ourselves a structure around how we would do energy efficiency and water efficiency work. Um, but the company was always oriented towards sustainability. I mean, even before I got here, dumb things, I build the first league building in San Diego and, and you know, we have a picture on my desk when taken in 1983, uh, my CEO getting, um, this huge like a word rebate from southern California Edison are really, really efficient windows that we put in, in a building all the way back then that's built the [inaudible]. We still own that building and the windows are still going great. So we've always been, um, sustainability always been important to the company, but we just didn't have the bandwidth to have anybody focus on it.
Speaker 3:
9:17
So that's why I got hired. Um, and I think that sort of mindset of [inaudible] of we want to do this, we recognize that sustainability is important, is really what's enabled us to really, again, go from zero to 60. But certainly getting up to 60 where we are now. And the other thing we have is a very passionate, uh, CEO, um, who really definitely cares about environmental, um, issues related to real estate. I think a lot of CEOs pay this what surface of but not mine. And so sort of is focus on it combined with my sort of business background acumen is what has been, and so it's sort of the company culture of [inaudible] embracing innovation and entrepreneurship within the company, um, has really enabled us to succeed. We're much more nimble than I think, um, a lot of our competitors are. And that has been really helpful.
Speaker 2:
10:14
Yeah. It sounds like that relationship then is, is really, really important, but what do you think drove him? Is it his, you know, personal drive for sustainability? Is it that, uh, he likes to be a leader and innovative in that space? Maybe it's for health and wellness or is it that, you know, it really is helping the company overall and kind of retraining, uh, retaining and attracting new tenants. Right. Which I know is a, a benefit on that side, which is a financial outcome. But what do you think the driver is that has a, you're saying
Speaker 3:
10:44
it's a combination? Yeah, I think it's a combination of what you said. I think on a personal level, John is a sailor. He says a lot of time on water. So things like ocean trash or something that you sort of deeply embedded in a, his, you know, in him in terms of something that is a problem that we're not taking care of the earth. So I think on a personal level it really works. But I also think John just saw sustainability, um, as a trend that was happening and he wanted to get out in front and as he says, lead the parade. Um, and I think he figured that out about seven years before most of the other CEOs that real estate investment trusts to did. He really felt like he saw it coming and wanted us to take a leadership position. It was great timing. It was right after the last recession. And so, um, we weren't as active in development back then. And so, which was good cause I needed a little bit of time to get my feet wet. So we only had two development projects when I started as opposed to now when I feel like we have 17, um, don't quote me on that number. It's probably not 17 hard to think about how you think of campuses like, oh it's one campus, four buildings, how many is that? So don't put that number. Uh, so,
Speaker 2:
11:58
well, and you guys on that note to Sarah, you guys have an innovation lab too, which I think is pretty unique people that we talked to and that's probably a collaboration of, of your guys' relationship and pushing this forward. But you want to, do you want to speak to the innovation lab a little bit?
Speaker 3:
12:15
Yes. I love the innovation lab story, which was, I was at this awful conference and my awful, I just mean that it was in Chicago in November. It was so poor and right. I don't think I've ever gotten wet and like in like a shorter period of time, this conference. But I went to a panel and there was a guy from the National Association of wheelchairs, like the brokers, you've talked about the fact that we have an innovation lab and would anybody like to come see it? And I said, sure. And I followed this guy back to his office, like a puppy after this, um, after his panel. And I got to see, um, it was a physical innovation lab, uh, where they're, they're piloting a bunch of stuff. Sadly I think they've shuttered it, the program since then. Um, but I was so impressed and I thought, gosh, we need this.
Speaker 3:
13:00
And the innovation lab, to me it's, it's great. It's a program that enables us to come up with some rules of engagement for new technology, which is really, really important. How we're working with lucid for example, because it's really hard to pilot new technology and it's a lot slower to do. The savings are not as easy to measure. The paybacks are hard, the vendors maybe don't know how to sell it in a way that we need it kind of thing. Um, and so the lab gives us a platform to say, okay, for new technology, here's what we're looking for. Here are the parameters and then here's how we're going to do the measurement and verification. And then what's happened is that we now have official partnerships with the lad lab and clean tech incubators. So for example, the Los Angeles cleantech incubator, we did a successful project with them. Uh, it was installed in January and it's running through this summer. Um, we had one that didn't work out, which is fine, um, couldn't get the payback period we needed. And so we had to say goodbye to it. We're starting up another one with the USG, UBC, Los Angeles [inaudible] accelerator program. There's another one called build Edison in New York. And so having the lab has really enabled like a much better curation of what we're seeing, what we're going to be piloting, um, which is really, I think driving our success.
Speaker 3:
14:15
Yeah. Then for the great that just, that covers it month end rate magazine. Um, and I really wanna push other real estate companies to have labs where we say, yes, we are going to pilot cutting edge technology. We're going to figure it out because that's the only way we're really going to keep driving savings in buildings. I mean, yes, do generations of lights keep coming out and that's great. But in order to make constant, constant change, like we need to make, we're going to have to figure out how to make new technologies, um, create those savings. So that's what the lab does and it's been really successful.
Speaker 2:
14:47
I totally agree. And it's kind of interesting, right? Because it seems really paralyzing. I think a lot of people when they're looking at new tech, especially if it needs to roll out on such a large scale, but I think the innovation lab gives you a chance to touch and feel and look and get a, a sense of, of what the impact may be in, you know, building tech. I think we've, we've seen, uh, I talked last podcast, I think it, it moved really slow for so long. I'd show up to the same trade shows and we see the same technology year over year and things, Asian awards. I was just rolling my eyes like, wow, I left that industry five years ago in this software and it is still unchanged. And I think that's changed in the last, uh, three to five years. There's been some really cool technology to hit the market that is more we're used to in our, in our own personal lives. Right. And, and I think that's a good transition. Is there anything that that really stands out to you as technology within commercial buildings? Um, that is most interesting.
Speaker 3:
15:51
Oh, this is a difficult question. I think what is the most interesting to me is technology. That, how do I put this? Acknowledges the problem that it's forbearers hadn't takes those head on. For example, we're excited right now about a spray on window film. Uh, now window film, something we've been using forever, but it's really problematic because it can, the most effective stuff changes the aesthetics of your building. Um, and I totally get why our architecture team is, are less than enthusiastic about making it look like my building, which used to have clear lazing is now wearing aviator glasses. Um, so this is, uh, uh, spray-on technology that's clear to the point where we're actually, it was hilarious. We, we did the pilots of the innovation lab and we were setting up the MMV and then somebody forgot to mark down which window that they'd sprayed in a room with a lot of glazing and then we can figure out which one it was. And so we have to Redo the pilot because we couldn't, we couldn't test it against the building without the film. Um, so that, that's the,
Speaker 2:
16:55
I can say, I didn't say spray on window film coming from the a question, but it's still interesting.
Speaker 3:
17:02
Yeah. Um, and then I think anything that, um, how do I put it right. Sizes data. So we were hearing about big data for years and I think we ended up with like to big data. Um, you know, a lot of, um, a lot of technologies were just drowning the engineers in data. And then they were just completely getting data blend and they weren't looking at it. And so I'm very excited about the technologies that really keep the human element in there that explicitly acknowledged we are a tool to enable energy savings and you don't want to only need the most experienced and enthusiastic engineer to do it. Let's figure out the level of data that you need in order to be able to make changes in your building that will make it run more efficiently and let's deliver that and nothing more. I think software engineers in the early years want to just add so many doodads.
Speaker 3:
17:55
Um, I remember hearing a pitch from somebody and they were clearly so excited about their new platform and they showed me this, this image that was a, it was like a quadrant and there are all these circles. I'm like, the circles are your building c I was like, I know this is very pretty, but I don't understand what it means. Like do I want to be in the upper left quadrant or the lower quadrant or do I want to be blue circle or green circle? Does it matter how big the circles are? Do I want to be a small one and not less quarter in or a big wood in the right? It was, it was meaningless and I'm sure it meant a lot to them, but I couldn't make heads or tails of it. And an engineer will take one look at that and never log in again. So these days I'm really excited about it. Yeah, it is. It takes that on. No, I was gonna say technology then takes that problem on and doesn't pretend it doesn't exist. You know, a lot of technology is like, oh yeah, everybody will love it and they'll use it and they're like, no, let's actually do a lot of user testing and some handling to make sure that it's actually gets implemented.
Speaker 2:
18:52
And I, I think you hit the nail on the head, right, on the stakeholders. Um, because so many products that were out there for so long were for the system level user. And you know, as you talked about before, uh, in your, in your tedtalk dating, you're building a lot of the stakeholders that you want to engage. And you want to start working on it. Uh, they needed a tool that is easy to use, right? And the tool that's easy to navigate them. Something that the insights that they're looking for. So you guys have have went through a big process of centralizing data. Um, maybe on that talk a little bit about the effort to centralize data, but then do you have a lot of stakeholders that are not, you know, the core system, facility level users at Kilroy?
Speaker 3:
19:36
That was two questions. So I'll take the first one on which is, um, I have a great relationship with my it department. I think that might be kind of unusual in the world of sustainability. If I love my it department, they were just helping me today were some air quality sensors had gone off network. We had to figure out what had happened. Um, and they've solved the problem, which is great. Um, so yes, our it department last summer, people who are trying to sort of get everything onto a centralized platform. But when I find it, there's different users have different levels of data. You know, like monthly benchmarking data is really used by my team. I budgeting it gets used for Citi benchmarking but it's not that useful for the engineers. So they are much more looking at, you know, the 15 minute load data, certain engineers that really want to get into it or really getting into deep retro commissioning, you know, what are all the different devices in the building doing.
Speaker 3:
20:25
So the data, there's different data for different stakeholders and that my property managers kind of monthly data has nothing interesting to them. They do like the 15 minute interval data cause it has some um, dollar figures associated with it. Like kwh all of a sudden everybody's asleep. But if you say, okay, well because the building didn't perform as it was expected to last week, we spent an extra, you know, $748. All of a sudden now you have everybody's attention. And so those are various stakeholder groups that consume different kinds of the data that we produced here.
Speaker 2:
20:59
That's great. And I think it will continue to increase. Like I said, the cool things that you're finding in the innovation lab. And, and different tools that are coming to market. And I think it's gonna be pretty exciting to CIO some of those things. What about just, you've done obviously a ton of, we touched on it, you know, not super deep, but you've been at Kilroy a long time. Can you tell us about maybe a project or an initiative that you're most proud of? It might be hard to choose, but something that you know, you really, really think stands out in your time at Kilroy.
Speaker 3:
21:29
Yeah, absolutely. Um, it is our, uh, the commitment we made last year and all of the contracting that it took to make sure that we are definitely going to achieve our commitment to becoming the first, uh, commercial real estate landlord in North America to achieve carbon neutral operations by the end of 20 1820. So a lot of carbon neutrality goals. Yeah, a lot of, uh, carbon neutrality goals, um, are 20, 30, 20, 45, 20, 50. And my view is we don't have time to wait. We really do not have time to, oh, I'm going to set this, you know, 2050 reduction target. We need that right now. Target. I live in California. Our state is on fire. I taught myself from climate change, you know. Right. So we need, um, we needed to take really bold actions. So we made that commitment. John Kilroy got on stage with a global climate action summit in front of like the world and committed us to doing it, which is probably the proudest moment of my career.
Speaker 3:
22:34
But then on the back end I actually had to do all the work to make sure that we were going to achieve it. We don't just make commitments without knowing how we're going to get there. So we did that through executing um, uh, a large offsite power purchase agreement, installing a bunch of onsite solar. And that's wrapping up now more onsite solar is showing up and then obviously commitments to energy efficiency. So we are on track. We are going to be making it do a lot of third party external auditing to prove that we're getting where we say that we're, we want to be. Um, and so yeah, that's really, that's really, really exciting. I think that the conversation is now about carbon and building decarbonization. How do we take the carbon out of buildings? Again, I'm only talking scope one, scope two here. So that's what the operation site is.
Speaker 3:
23:18
I can't yet deal with, um, in a meaningful way the upfront carbon of our building materials. I'm getting there. Got a lot of things in the hopper on that subject, but I don't have any kind results yet. Um, in terms of upfront carbon, but I do have really racial carbon really meaningfully in a way that hasn't yet been done in our industry and my goal in doing that, not just so that we could do it, but to really inspire everyone else that these goals are achievable in a very short term. It's not something that has to get pushed out five years, 10 years. It can be done now. And we're really seeing, uh, some shaken up of the industry that's been, that's resulting from that. So I'm excited.
Speaker 1:
23:57
That's really, really impressive. When did you guys set that goal for 2020 carbon neutrality?
Speaker 3:
24:03
It was September of last year. Very easy to remember because it forced me to miss my husband's birthday because it was the same day, uh, uh, that, uh, John Hillary had to make [inaudible] no, yeah, that's September of last year.
Speaker 1:
24:16
That's amazing. I don't know if I've heard of anyone doing it that quickly ever
Speaker 3:
24:23
is the point. Anybody, um, sort of the Green Property Council of Australia and the World Green Building Council really, um, outlined very clear methodology for how this can be done. I think one of the things we all have to give up on is the idea that it can all be done on site. It can't, we just need to let go of that. Obviously I'll always be pushing for energy efficiency. I'll always be pushing for onsite renewables, but a lot of it's got to get done, you know, off say we have to, you know, help coal plants go offline and we're going to do that with more and more renewable procurement in a really meaningful way. I'm not talking about buying carbon credits, I'm talking about adding renewable capacity to the grid. Um, but yeah, it can be done right now. Now, admittedly, I'm a smaller company, um, than others.
Speaker 3:
25:10
So, uh, you know, I'll take digital realty and iron mountain looks sure we're two of the pioneers in this space. They just, they have energy usage cause they've had a lot of data centers like a hundred times mine, you know, they've done four or five deals and are, you know, meaningful double digit [inaudible] [inaudible] that they're able to knock out with those. But I am of a size that I could get to 100% with one deal. Um, so that, that's great. But the point is not everybody uses as much energy, digital realty in the iron mountain doing really a lot of folks can do this. The big tech companies already are. Um, and I think that's, that gets meaningful change very, very quickly.
Speaker 2:
25:48
The part I loved in there is I'm not the only spouse, a missing somebody's birthday for working. So that'll save me. You listen to this podcast,
Speaker 1:
25:57
it's going to happen again this year. I feel terrible.
Speaker 2:
26:02
But um, yeah, that's impressive. I think you mentioned before just that you guys are nimble, right? Obviously growing, but I think having such a near term commitment, it does make it seem real. It makes people move a little bit faster. Obviously you might've had a, a small pause when you're like, Oh wow, we did it. It's public now we need to go need to go execute. But uh, I think that piece is great cause when it is 20, 30, 20, 40, it just seems like not procrastination but it's just out there ways. Right. It's easy to focus on other things.
Speaker 3:
26:31
Right. Absolutely.
Speaker 2:
26:33
So now I've been excited. I want to get into this. I want people to go listen to the Ted talk. But uh, I know you're very passionate about the health and wellness side of it in the building's role in productivity, health or wellbeing and really the occupant's role, right? No, you said it and it had one of the greatest titles that I think I've seen an erect. Was that an automatic, did you find that over?
Speaker 3:
27:01
I know I had, I outsourced that one to my writer husband. Right. So it's a good thing to have a [inaudible] very clever writer in the house cause they can do things like help you come up with titles for your Tedx dark. So,
Speaker 2:
27:13
well, if I'm listening and I know the question, I guess I have you talk about dating your building and this huge protects us from bad air. I love the comment of uh, the, the tod that you breathe. So a teaser for those that want to know what that is. You need to go listen to the Ted talk. Um, but maybe walk us through so that the health and wellness side, obviously there's a connection to Kilroy, but you know, if you could give a, just a macro top points out of that Ted talk, uh, cause I know you're passionate, what would it be cause interesting in a difference of how we think about buildings.
Speaker 3:
27:51
Yeah, absolutely. So, um, the very brief story, um, is that when my now four year old was too, um, and she started her coughing herself to sleep every single night. And she'd always been a sicker kid, but it was just the worst. Um, you know, and for those who are listening, who are parents, it's um, th the helplessness. You feel that your kid is suffering. You can't do anything about it. Um, it's just terrible. We tried so many things. Breathing treatments, you're still gonna mask. She looks like bane from the Batman movies. Um, did not, that wasn't working. Added steroids that wasn't working. It just was endless. And then after six months she got officially diagnosed with asthma and just of course I cried. But the, but that is what triggered me to think, oh my God, it's our house. Our House is doing it as my has environmental causes and I live south of a busy freeway.
Speaker 3:
28:41
I can't hear the freeway but it's not far away. And so we got an air filter that I've learned about through um, a well certification that actually, that we were doing at work, plugged it in. You know, Amazon prime, you got it plugged it in and the coughing was gone in two days and she's never cost them. And um, and so people hear that story. They're like, oh yeah, happy happening. Cause I'm just not a happy ending because why did it take me six months to figure this out? I do this for a living. I have a green building professional. Um, and yet I didn't make the connection. And I think that was the moment that I really realized, oh my God, they could just don't have the brains to really appreciate what our buildings are doing to us and doing to the environment. I mean, when we think about our health, which I, you know, I like to be healthy, you know, I'm thinking about the food that immediate, I'm thinking about the amount of exercise I'm getting.
Speaker 3:
29:33
If I'm being very virtuous, I think about the amount of sleep I'm getting. I really have problems thinking about, you know, uh, what my buildings are doing. Like I wouldn't show up to work drunk, but I would have no problems showing up to work where the co two levels were 3000 parts per million. Right. Which is deeply impairing our cognitive function, that science, that sort of shit over and over. So that's, so that's like the health center. Similarly on the environmental side. And when you think about what pollutes the environment, we think of factories with doing out stuff. We think of the exhaust from cars. Um, you know, we think of, you know, piles of trash, it's all very visible, but buildings are just quietly sitting there in visibly having this giant impact on the environment. And there's 40% of carbon emissions are depending on where you are to 80 in New York.
Speaker 3:
30:22
But um, but yeah, so it's just the concept that this giant giant factor in our health and the environment is just utterly invisible to all of us, drives me crazy. And so I've really tried to dedicate myself to trying to illuminate that relationship to make it a little more visible. You know, how do you do that? Well, you get a CEO to monitor and you actually see, you know, what your, what's going on. You know, you actually look at the energy star score and to see if your building is polluting more than it should be, you know, that kind of thing. So that's the general gist of the TEDX stock. There's lots more fun stuff in there. So do go watch it.
Speaker 2:
31:00
The part you mentioned that I thought was super interesting is you had mentioned that Tedtalk cars being like 26%, um, you know, of the u s carbon emissions depending on where you are. But with public awareness regulation, it's really improved. And in saying that buildings are just really starting down that path. So do you feel like there's getting a lot of momentum behind that or is it going to be awhile before we see people jumping on on that [inaudible]
Speaker 3:
31:27
Aye. Yeah, I feel like at least in California, which is where we own most of our assets and also in Seattle, um, that well there is now legislative awareness of the issue and tailpipe emissions are also a major source of problems, but there is an awareness that really what is causing a giant chunk of our energy woes or buildings and tailpipes um, just there more and more drivers every year. Electric cars aren't showing up as fast as they should be. You know, you can have all the smog regulations, but it's just the sheer number of cars that are showing up tailpipes are a problem. Similarly, our legislators, I think are finally understanding that buildings have to be addressed if we're going to meet our common goals. So I see that happening. I don't see it in health yet, which drives me bananas. I haven't really yet seen attendance a in the same way. They'll say, you deliver me 72 degrees plus or minus two, you know, deliver me 550 pounds. He goes to, it doesn't show up yet. And I don't understand why. So I think there's successes, but it is far.
Speaker 2:
32:33
So I thought one of the really interesting pieces from the Tedtalk is that the way that you are going to initiate that was to the occupant, go to HR, right? With their complaint of, Hey, this is the amount of carbon dioxide in the building and I think it's impacting my health and how much quicker that's gonna make them move. Then maybe making a hot or cold call to a facilities. So I think I see that making a, an impact quicker just in the method of how the occupants are, are bringing that to people's attention.
Speaker 3:
33:04
I think it's anybody, right? Um, who bothers to care about it? I mean, I just spoke, um, another company was having their sort of global summit. They're a much bigger company than we are and he's flung people in from Europe and from Australia and all over Asia and South America for this, for this meeting in a hotel room, it's like, guys, you just spent several hundred thousand dollars on airfare and hotel and whatever. Did anybody bother to test the carbon dioxide levels in this room? Like, are you bothering to make sure, and this is an engineering firm, right? Like, are you bothering to make sure that everybody's actually in the [inaudible] parameters that would [inaudible] make them retain whatever it is that you guys are doing? And the answer is, of course, no. Right? Because that the part of their company that does events management doesn't have it on their brain either.
Speaker 3:
33:53
You can just stick that in the RFC for hotel space in the same way you would say, and you must serve, need gluten free options. And I need a conference room that holds the 80 people or whatever. Um, you know, those kinds of requests. And yes, nobody's going to know what to do with them, but they will at least know who to may be asked, who probably won't know either. But then change happens. Um, you know, we scramble all the time to accommodate requests for whatever. Um, and I landlords will really pay attention and hotel operators will pay attention if these questions get asked.
Speaker 2:
34:26
Totally agree. I know, Sarah, I feel like, and, and I'm sure amber does as well. We have a million other questions, but we hope that we'll have another interesting topic and get you on the podcast, uh, a second time. Um, but one of the ways we love to end this is just giving you an opportunity to, you know, share some pieces of advice or something that you would give to other energy and sustainability leaders. Um, whether they're looking to start something with a company that really doesn't have an initiative or to get on the same track to accomplish some of the amazing things that you've done at Kilroy.
Speaker 3:
35:03
Sure. So the advice that I give for people who are really trying to make organizational change around sustainability, and you have to think of yourself as somebody who's hacking your own company and you think to think of yourself as somebody who's trying to change how the company operates. Um, and so there are sort of hacker principles of how to do that. For example, one of them is, uh, is freedom as good, right? So that means that you're empowering everybody at the company to make sustainability decisions and not just you. Another hacker principle is like attitude is no substitute competence. To me that means like you could love sustainability all you want, but you have to back up what you've done with numbers. You have to show, um, that you know that you've actually done anything. You know, another one is boredom and drudgery or evil, right?
Speaker 3:
35:52
So you don't want to be initiating programs that are making a lot of work that people don't want to do. A really good example is benchmarking. A great way to make everybody hate you is to start by making everybody, you know, track down a month and date it and put it into some spreadsheet or some way website, how to figure out how to automate that immediately because you don't want to turn everybody off on sustainability. So yeah, I mean there's, there's sort of a lot of advice on how to, how to get that done. I mean, the first one is, is quick wins, right? Like when you're starting out, you want to have whatever it is you have to win it very quickly from you as green cleaning. Oddly enough, like I felt like I could really make sure we had a solid green cleaning program and based on the success of that, we were able to build on to that.
Speaker 3:
36:37
Um, so it's not the time to like try to get solar done in, in your early years unless maybe your company does a lot of solar trying to do more of it or something like who knows what's easy for you. So it's a matter of like earning your political capital when you're starting out and then spending it. I think a lot of people get stuck in, like, I just don't want to do anything risky. I want everyone to like me. Like there's a phase for that. Then you gotta move on and actually get the, get the big stuff done. And then the other major, major thing about trying to change an organization is just holding as having a whole lot of gratitude. And really what we're talking about is disrupting business as usual and making people do their jobs differently. And it's hard and time consuming and people don't initially get what you're talking about.
Speaker 3:
37:19
Um, which is why it's really, really important to be grateful, um, and show that publicly, you know, use the sustainability report to show gratitude. I mean, we do Twitter campaigns every summer for various people, um, on our team. So yeah, think of yourself as a hacker. Think of, think of yourself as somebody who's changing organizational culture and then remember where you sort of are in your process in terms of the, um, ambition level of, of projects you're tackling. And no need to fight the hard battles. In the early years, I think people are like, well, I gotta, I gotta do the hardest thing first. Like office recycling often not a great first project. A lot of work for people they don't really understand. It was also hard to measure. Like I might wait on that, you know, but if you can get some money for a lighting retrofit and just get it done and then you have the results, like that seems like a better option to me.
Speaker 1:
38:09
That's great. Sarah, thank you so much again for being on the show. Sure. It's always so fun to chat with you. We love your enthusiasm and the work that you're doing is incredible in super important and we're so glad that you're able to come on and share some of that, those best practices and the good work that you're doing. So thanks again for having me. Absolutely. Uh, for those who are interested in, in to Sarah's Ted talk, the title of a Ted talk is erected this function. Our buildings hurt us, but they don't have to. And you can search that in youtube and it'll pop right up. You can also just search Sarah's name, Sarah enough. And for the rest of the listeners out there, thank you for tuning in. We will be back next week with more great episodes, but if you have a story that you would like to share with us and you would like to come on the show, feel free to email us@marketingatluciddg.com and we would be happy to have you, uh, for now, uh, we'll go ahead and sign off and we will see you next week. Thank you.
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