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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why an Academic Institution? - Blog - Build2Sustain


If we’re committed to creating and deploying best practices in commercial real estate, why then are we pitching the paper project to academic institutions? What academic institutions are we interested in working with?

Let’s take the first question, why an academic institution?

When brainstorming the next steps for Build2Sustain we considered several possibilities. After consulting with our advisory board, potential strategic partners and investors, we concluded we need proof of concept before we can enter the market and deploy solutions at a profitable scale. We’ve long talked about have a pilot project, one in which a corporate sponsor or some other monied entity would fund a sustainable renovation for a client willing to be partner with us as a test subject. While we feel a pilot project still makes a lot of sense, and that one is on the horizon. We decided to take one step even further back and create a paper project as a way to test our methodology without risking capital of a client, or a sponsor.

All that serves as background, the question remains-why and academic client? There are some compelling reasons:

Colleges and Universities across the US have proclaimed sustainability a primary objective for their institutions. Buildings are clearly a big key to making campus sustainability a reality, but in our research only a tiny fraction of schools have been able to take concrete action when it comes to sustainability in the built environment. Our mission is to reduce the environmental impact buildings and drive ROI incentives for doing so to the market. Academic institutions provide a ready test market.

A paper project affords the possibility for the faculty, staff and students of the school to take part in the research and decision making that goes into the paper project. Since we employ a transparent model, stakeholders will be able to take part in the decision making process in close to real time. That’s a level of transparency unheard of in most capital investment programs taken up by academic institutions. This serves both the institution and Build2Sustain as it provides a way to explore what all stakeholders involved want when it comes to the renovation.

Lastly, solutions we develop for the academic world port easily to the commercial world. The challenges colleges and universities face in the built environment aren’t all that different for corporate headquarters in suburban america. Challenges including campus wide water use, building maintenance, food prep and waste processing, lighting and HVAC energy usage and in-campus transportation are all in line with the challenges faced by businesses across the US.

So what kind of academic institution is ideal?
When considering who to partner with when it comes to our paper project, the forward looking vision of the institution is just an important as the opportunities their physical campus affords. We are looking for a school genuinely dedicated to sustainability and willing to explore the real world pitfalls of designing and building a renovation in an open way. Due to the level of student involvement we’d like to see on for the project we are limiting the scope of the academic paper project to colleges, universities. Campus size and number of buildings aren’t of terribly high importance. What is important is finding a school able to assess the benefits of renovation not just from a environmental standpoint, but also from a cost-saving and payback driven standpoint. Community colleges will be given special consideration since they often struggle to provide services against enormous cost with limited resources. We feel an ROI driven renovation study could most help such an institution.

If you are part of an academic institution and are interested in taking up the paper project, studying the profitable benefits sustainable renovation please reach out to us. We’ve set up a special email account specifically for the paper project. paperproject@build2sustain.com

Next Steps...

B2S will have formal proposal documents ready by the end of the week and will begin outreach to targeted academic institutions starting next week. If you are interested in reviewing these materials....email us paperproject@build2sustain.com

Tomorrow here on the blog, we'll discuss our ideal partner architect and who else we'll be looking to team up with on the paper project.

Why an Academic Institution? - Blog - Build2Sustain


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