It’s Electric! The Next Wave of Building Decarbonization – Greenbuild 2020 Session Review


Editorial, “We didn’t know that fossil gas releases so much methane into the atmosphere during drilling, during extraction, during transmission, and during burning to offset any benefits over coal. Heat pumps and induction cooktops are much more efficient and use electricity. 100 percent electric buildings are here and we won’t have to pay for replacing the aging fossil gas distribution piping which leaks a lot. We’re looking into assembling a panel discussion at the 2021 Green Umbrella Summit of all the district heating and cooling networks in Greater Cincinnati: University of Cincinnati, City of Cincinnati, Greater Cincinnati airport, and Northern Kentucky University. We’ll learn more about their plans to stop using fossil gas and migrate to electric. Hopefully by looking at the problem now, they will learn that it can be done and that there are technologies that will allow them to do it. This is important to the project we are donating our time to, the LEED Certification of the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in downtown Cincinnati. It currently using the district cooling system and fossil gas. We can’t install solar panels and may not have the room to change our mechanical HVAC systems. The best solution for the CAC to become carbon zero is to encourage the district cooling to use electric heat exchangers and convert the building heating to the district steam system which would convert to electric. Please get in touch if you would like to help.”

As the real estate sector continues to dig deep on ways to increase energy efficiency and sustainability, the status quote of lighting retrofits and building envelope upgrades no longer cuts it for most. In order to meet stringent decarbonization and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, commercial real estate owners must look to electrifying their portfolio, and quickly. Speakers include Sara Neff or Kilroy Realty Corporation, Ryan Tinus of Hudson Pacific Properties, and Panama Bartholomy of the Building Decarbonization Coalition. Marta Schantz of the Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint Center for Building Performance will moderate the panel.

This panel will analyze many sides of the equation and help audience members better create their own electrification strategies. Audience members will hear from commercial real estate owners who are actively developing corporate decarbonization strategies and learn about the barriers and roadblocks present depending on the type of asset. From lessons learned on mixed-use retail and office spaces to how to best leverage your brokerage team to education potential tenants, this panel will cover a wide berth of expertise to guide those companies just starting to consider how to decarbonize their assets.


Understand why electrification is critical to commercial real estate and greenhouse gas emissions writ large.

Analyze strategies that can be utilized in a variety of real estate portfolios to increase energy efficiency and sustainability

Overcome common barriers to large scale electrification to increase sustainability.

Understand the challenges and successes for each asset type and how that impacts broader portfolios.




Marta Schantz
Senior Vice President, Greenprint Center
Urban Land Institute
Marta Schantz is the senior vice president for the Greenprint Center for Building Performance at the Urban Land Institute, a worldwide alliance of leading real estate owners committed to improving the environmental performance of the industry – reducing carbon emissions, and increasing building value. She brings deep experience in the real estate sustainability market to lead and collaborate across organizations and stakeholders to achieve program goals and successes. Recent focus areas range from Net Zero Energy Buildings, to City/Real Estate Partnerships for Climate Policy, to Embodied Carbon in Real Estate, to Class B/C Office Energy Efficiency. Before her time at ULI, Marta worked at Waypoint Energy, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the US Deptartment of Energy. She is a LEED Green Associate and a Fitwel Ambassador. She holds a BS in biological engineering with a minor in science technology and society from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Panama Bartholomy
Building Decarbonization Coalition
Panama is the Director of the Building Decarbonization Coalition, a multi-
sector forum advocating for and creating solutions for our pollution-
intensive building stock. Previously, Panama was the European Director of
the Investor Confidence Project where he worked to unlock capital
markets for energy efficiency project development. Panama was the
Advisor on Energy and Natural Resources to California Assembly Speaker
John A. Perez. He has served as Deputy Director of the California Energy
Commission’s Efficiency and Renewables Division and advisor for
Chairwomen Douglas and Pfannenstiel. He has worked for the California Conservation
Corps on vocational environmental education, and ran the Sustainable Schools program for
the Division of the State Architect. Panama served on the City of Sacramento Planning
Commission and the County of Sacramento Environmental Commission, and is a former
board member on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and past president of the
Northern California Chapter of the USGBC. panama-bartholomy-screen-shot-2020-12-31-at-1-41-15-pm panama-bartholomy-screen-shot-2020-12-31-at-1-41-51-pm panama-bartholomy-screen-shot-2020-12-31-at-1-42-19-pm panama-bartholomy-screen-shot-2020-12-31-at-1-43-23-pm panama-bartholomy-screen-shot-2020-12-31-at-1-44-26-pm panama-bartholomy-screen-shot-2020-12-31-at-1-45-43-pm

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Sara Neff
Senior Vice President, Sustainability
Kilroy Realty Corporation
Sara Neff is Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. Sara took Kilroy from having no sustainability program to being named the #1 publicly traded real estate company on sustainability in the Americas by GRESB, and under her leadership the company committed to becoming the first carbon neutral real estate company in North America by the end of 2020.

At Kilroy, she oversees all sustainability initiatives such as solar and battery dealmaking, the implementation of energy and water efficiency initiatives throughout the existing and development portfolios, the integration of sustainability standards into annual financial reports, the launch of the Kilroy Innovation Lab, and the award-winning green leasing program. She holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.



Ryan Tinus
Sr Director, Engineering and Environmental Sustainability
Hudson Pacific Properties
I oversee Environmental Sustainability for a West Coast developer and owner of Class A commercial real estate (~18M sf in total). We are deeply committed to decarbonizing our portfolio and developing a pathway for other owners to do the same. We recently completed a portfolio-wide agreement to purchase renewable credits to offset the entirety of our portfolio’s electricity consumption, and are developing on offset program to address natural gas consumption. In addition, I am actively engaged with the cities of SF and LA to discuss decarbonization/electrification strategies for commercial buildings citywide. I am currently a board member on USGBC-LA and am working with the newly revamped Existing Buildings committee to drive the decarb conversation within USGBC LA. Prior to HPP, I was Director of Sustainability with Tishman Speyer and was chair of the Energy and Sustainability Committee with BOMA/Chicago where I worked with the City to develop energy benchmarking requirements.

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