First Down, 10 Yard Line…

by Ellen Sinreich on November 26, 2013

We’re on the 10 yard line with 90 yards to go. That was the conclusion at the end of the Change Leadership: Accelerating Energy Efficiency in The Built Environment conference that I participated in last week at Baruch College in New York City.

Unlike most conferences about energy efficiency in the built environment, this conference did not address energy technology per se, but instead focused on stakeholder engagement as the key to accelerating the rate at which energy efficiencies are achieved.

Photo courtesy of The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College, R.J.Harper, Photographer Photo courtesy of The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College, R.J.Harper, Photographer


Here are the three critical take-aways from the conference and an example of how one company is embracing them to create a new standard of excellence:

Guiding Principles for Accelerating Energy Efficiency

It’s About People. Buildings don’t consume energy, people do. Unless we bring our focus to people and process in order to change “the way we do things around here,” well-meaning efforts to lower energy consumption in the built environment will continue to bump up against the deep-seated human tendency to resist change.

Change Leadership is Critical. Leadership is required to transform the goal of energy efficiency from the siloed concern of in-house engineers and their external consultants to an integral component of the overall business plan and performance evaluation of every portfolio, asset, and individual at the companies that control the buildings in which we live, work and play.
Technology is the Enabler. Technological innovations that facilitate cost-effective access to real time, granular energy consumption data will enable property owners and occupants to minimize waste — currently estimated to account for 33% of the energy consumed in the built environment.

A New Paradigm for Stakeholder Engagement and Building Performance

Recognizing that significant improvements in the energy efficiency of their 11M square foot New York City portfolio of buildings is all about the people who operate and occupy those buildings, Rudin Management Company has created an information technology tool that will enable them to transform the issue of energy efficiency from an abstract concept to one that is the personal responsibility of each and every one of those people.

This tool, which is currently being beta tested at two Rudin buildings, goes far beyond standard building management systems and is considered a building operating system (DBOS), akin to a computer operating system. DBOS will enable Rudin and their tenants to “see” how energy is being consumed on a 24/7 basis, from anywhere in the world. Rudin intends to use DBOS to maximize operational efficiencies, minimize costs and carbon, and strengthen their relationships with tenants. We see this as a powerful win-win-win and applaud Rudin for this masterful demonstration of change leadership, technological innovation and putting people first.

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