Capitalizing on Sustainable Development Recap

May 23, 2023
Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

More specifically, Orange County Government defines sustainable building as the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance, and demolition.

Moderated by Sarah Riffe, Environmental Compliance Specialist at NNN REIT, Inc., our May program featured a panel of thought leaders in the sustainability space, including: 

•    Brittany Sellers, Assistant Director of Sustainability & Resilience, for the City of Orlando,
•    Mital Hall, Vice President, Sustainability Services - ESG strategy at JLL, and 
•    Tracy Steward, Partner at CMTA

More sustainable building programs are being established, and more strategies are being implemented in public building designs. These design strategies include optimizing site potential, minimizing non-renewable energy consumption, and using environmentally preferable products.

Several of the more recognizable sustainable building programs include: 

•    Fitwel 
•    Green Global Certified 
•    International WELL Building Institute 
•    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
•    Living Building Challenge 
•    New Building Institute (NBI)

With dozens of sustainable building certification programs available, the panel emphasized the importance of identifying organizational goals related to sustainable development before pursuing certification. 

Brittany Sellers said: “City of Orlando buildings are getting national-level recognition under the most stringent accreditation levels and rating systems. Seeking what meets the needs of your building and what will best serve your users is what’s ultimately going to be the highest-performing building because it’s designed with that in mind. There is so much overlap between the certifications, so aligning your certification strategy with your organization’s broader goals is important.”

Tracy Steward shared: “Whether you certify a building or not, I would highly recommend that you go through an understanding of these programs so that you can understand the research and data that is behind the information. ENERGY STAR has been the baseline of the data that we try to compare energy to from building to building. So putting things in the ENERGY STAR portfolio is something everyone can do. The first step from an energy and carbon standpoint is to know where you’re at; ENERGY STAR is a great way to do that.”

Beyond sustainable architecture, a growing coalition of countries, cities, businesses and other institutions are pledging to get to net-zero emissions by 2025, despite concerns of its achievability. 

Mital Hall said: “We’re seeing over 100 percent growth year over year in corporations and companies signing on to have this net zero goal by 2050. It’s not just about having the goal; it’s about implementing it. Demand is a core driver. So there’s the demand piece and the compliance and regulation piece. Every publicly traded company will be required to report its greenhouse gas emissions to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Even for private companies, we all need to fall into alignment since private companies do business with and for public companies.”

Thanks to our panelists and moderator for the valuable insight provided, and special thanks to our May program sponsor, CLA Global.  

Check out photo highlights from the program on our Flickr.

Save the date for our next lunch program, “An Economic Update with Victor Calanog: Recession? Recovery? The Road Ahead,” set for June 21.