With up to 50% of global annual emissions coming from buildings (approximately 27% from building operations and 23% from construction), a diversity of solutions are urgently needed to hit emissions reductions targets. At Dynamo Energy Hub, we kicked off summer by learning from experts working to decarbonize the built environment, and invited members who are leaders working on different aspects of this challenge to share their experience making buildings more sustainable.
Emily Chasan, the Director of Communications for Generate Capital, moderated the conversation drawing on her career as an ESG reporter and Generate’s leading position in green infrastructure development and energy efficient buildings. Her questions focused on how ESG financing and advising are pushing the building sector, as well as how buildings are being decarbonized in practice.
Credit Suisse‘s Angelica Nikolausson spoke about the importance of green financing, ESG KPIs and Credit Suisse’s role supporting corporations transition to ESG targets. She highlighted that currently only 10% of green bonds are real estate, but ESG KPIs related to buildings and energy efficiency apply to 30% of all green bonds. This demonstrates that measuring and managing buildings impacts everyone in the industry, not only the real estate sector. ESG KPIs are also impacting human capital management as well, with executives now being measured for ESG performance.
Chad Reed leads ESG initiatives across Hannon Armstrong’s portfolio of climate positive investments, which includes $9 Billion in wind, solar, energy efficiency, and sustainable infrastructure assets. With over 300 energy efficiency projects in federal, state, local, and commercial buildings, energy efficiency makes up over $5 billion of their investment portfolio. To highlight their work in practice, he spoke about the federal government initiative Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC). Hannon Armstrong provides all the capital for the federal building retrofit, including HVAC, lighting, and building envelope upgrades, and is paid back over time with the savings gained through improved energy efficiency. He also spoke about the Biden Administration’s recent executive order that requires federal buildings to significantly cut emissions by 2030, and that power must be supplied by locally sourced clean energy to meet the 24/7 demand for at least half of this emissions reduction target. Additionally, it mandates the federal government must transition to a net-zero building portfolio by 2045.
The ESG Transition Company’s Founder and CEO, Greg Streiff is currently advising companies on meeting ESG targets, and reiterated the role of policy in meeting climate targets. He also spoke about the importance of NYC’s Local Laws that will push the building sector towards more energy efficient solutions. Policy and disclosure are important, and he celebrated initiatives like Local Law 88, which mandates more efficient lighting for spaces over 25,000 ft2 by 2025.
Amanda Kaminsky, Director, Sustainable Construction at Lendlease, focuses on building electrification, embodied carbon and the supply chain in her daily work, keeping a close eye on those materials with the largest embodied carbon impact such as concrete and steel. She shared a diversity of strategies that LendLease employs to reduce carbon emissions including exploring recycled glass as a cement replacement in concrete, considering alternative fuel options and electrification of construction equipment on site, as well as studying the impact of building materials on human health. “A big theme is electrification, electrification, electrification, whether building from scratch or renovating… making sure we’re electrifying as early and as comprehensively as possible, but also making sure that electrification is renewably powered.”
Many solutions are needed to reach the finish line of our decarbonization goal. The panelists spoke optimistically about other emerging solutions they hope will have an impact including carbon capture and storage, community solar, and solar integrated into the facade and windows of buildings, as well as stacking technologies and digital twinning for better building energy systems management in the years ahead.
Join us for Dynamo’s next event takes place in Boston on July 19th: Innovation in the Energy Transition: Summer Soiree
Unpacking ESG for the Built Environment: Summer Reception
Tuesday, June 21 2022
4:00 - 7:00 PM EST
New York, New York
Director of Communications
ESG & sustainability initiatives
Strategic Initiatives & ESG
The ESG Transition Company
founder & CEO
Director of Sustainable Construction
4:30 PM EST
Moderator: Emily Chasan, Director, Communications at Generate Capital
Chad Reed, Strategic Initiatives & ESG at Hannon Armstrong
Angelica Nikolausson, IB ESG Strategy & Advisory at Credit Suisse
Amanda Kaminsky, Director, Sustainable Construction – Americas at Lendlease
Greg Streiff, CEO & Founder at The ESG Transition Company