The crowded room of young entrepreneurs, seasoned brokers, sustainability junkies, among other professionals networked before taking their seats as Kim kicked off the panel with some quick facts about existing buildings in DC. Kim stated that 2000 buildings comprise DC’s building stock, equaling 375 million square footage of space. About one percent of new building square footage is added to this stock every year. The way we have been creating sustainable buildings since the early 2000s is not enough to save cities from climate change, she warned. The other 99% of building square footage is where we should be mining for the quickest results and immediate impacts for carbon reduction, and that is found in existing buildings.
The topic of discussion was existing buildings in DC, and each panelist gave some sage advice regarding the existing building market, bench marking data, energy savings, and technology.
The take-aways were straight forward and practical:
- Kevin believes you need to deal with the building envelope before anything else. Looking at the outside of a building before the inside can be the most beneficial to your business. Replacing old windows with energy efficient windows, for example, are a quick, easy and budget-friendly fix and saves money in the long term.
- John focused his discussion on building relationships and setting reasonable goals. He believes that by getting early, smaller project wins will help propel a business into having the bandwidth to make existing buildings more energy efficient and eco-friendly. Starting small and gaining knowledge is better for everyone involved.
- Adam echoed the facts presented by Kim, stating that a 20% reduction in building use would save $80 billion dollars across the county – and 20% is on the low end. We should always strive for more, because we can do more.
Once the event ended, attendees lingered late into the evening and it was apparent that the topic and discussion resonated with many people. With a knowledgeable panel, eager and engaged attendees, and Kim as a passionate key speaker, the event provided attendees with a better understanding of their buildings’ energy use, and how critical – and simple – it is to take action.