Offices | Currently Browsing: USA
Podcast Ep.1: Sustainable Building - Structure Tone
Ever wonder when the construction industry started paying attention to sustainability and wellness? In this episode of STO Building Conversation, you'll get an inside look at the push for healthier, more sustainable buildings from Sustainable Construction Leader (SCL) and International Well Building Institute (IWBI) Award Winner, Jennifer Taranto.
32869
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-32869,single-format-standard,mkd-core-1.0.2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,onyx child-child-ver-1.0.0,onyx-ver-1.4.1, vertical_menu_with_scroll,smooth_scroll,side_menu_slide_with_content,width_470,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive
 

Podcast Ep.1: Sustainable Building

Ever wonder when the construction industry started paying attention to sustainability and wellness?

In this episode, you’ll get an inside look at the push for healthier, more sustainable buildings from Sustainable Construction Leader (SCL) and International Well Building Institute (IWBI) Award Winner, Jennifer Taranto.

 

 

The podcast is available for download now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and PodBean.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Rob Leon: Welcome to Building Conversations, a construction podcast, powered by the STO Building Group. I’m Rob Leon. I’ve spent the last 30 years of my career learning the ins and outs of the construction industry, and today, I’ll be your host. On this episode, we’ll be talking all-things sustainability with international WELL Building Institute award winner and Sustainable Construction Leader: Jennifer Toronto.

Good morning Jennifer, how are you today?

Jenn Taranto: Hey, good morning. I’m doing well.

Rob Leon: So, I think the first thing I’d like to ask you is, you know, it’s always interesting to me learning people’s career paths and just how they got into the construction industry. Tell me a bit about yourself.

Jenn Taranto: So, for me, I want to say it started early childhood. I remember building things with my uncles and my father. There’s a great family photograph of me wearing a super frilly, polka dotted dress and patent leather Mary Janes and digging a foundation for my uncle’s wood workshop. And then, into college I wanted to go into sustainability and was trying to dovetail that with my love of the construction industry and wanting to have tangible results at the end of every day.

Rob Leon: So, where did you grow up?

Jenn Taranto: I grew up in the southeast. I grew up in North Carolina, a town called Fayetteville, which is a military-base town. So, you know, huge transient population, you know, always having friends move in and out, and also went to school down in North Carolina, North Carolina State University.

Rob Leon: Well great. And what did you study there?

Jenn Taranto: I studied construction, engineering and management.

Rob Leon: Awesome. So, what was your first move right after college?

Jenn Taranto: Oh, right after college, oddly enough I decided to move west. I had this “manifest destiny” and I moved out to Colorado. I worked for a company called Hensel Phelps Construction Company on the Wellington Webb Civic building. So, taking a building out of the ground, doing lots of case on locations and, you know, go down 45 feet deep in a hole with bed dewatering. And it was, you know, negative 20 degrees in the morning. So, lots of really fun experiences.

Rob Leon: And what brought you back east?

Jenn Taranto: Well actually, I overshot east by a bit and I moved from Denver to Dublin and I spent about six months in Dublin, where I actually learned about Structure Tone, I found Structure Tone and I just kind of fell in love with the company, and with the organization. There wasn’t a good opportunity in Dublin and so I made some contacts back here in New York and found that there was opportunity in Boston.

From there, I came to Structure Tone, was hired as a superintendent, did the day-to-day ins-and-outs of managing a job, managing guys, looking for opportunities to improve, make things more efficient, looking for challenges always and sort of grew up through the ranks, onto becoming a project manager. Then, my road sort of forked at some point. We saw a lot of sustainability requests in RFPs and I dug into it and just really had a passion for it and loved it.

Rob Leon: Yeah, excellent. Um, so tell us a little bit about what you do here at Structure Tone now.

Jenn Taranto: So, my current role is director of sustainability and within that role I do many things. One of which is project work. I work a lot on any of our projects, not only that are seeking certification, but if we’ve got clients that are wanting to have sustainability goals, trying to sus-out what those goals are and informing the team, figure out the best ways to incorporate them from preconstruction all the way through construction. Additionally, I work at a strategic level within the organization, trying to push the best practices into our everyday work life, and then, you know, raising up other parts of sustainability within the organization.

Rob Leon: Excellent. Excellent. And as I mentioned in the opening, you just received the 2018 leadership recognition award from the IWBI, International WELL Building Institute, for your commitment to enhancing people’s health through better buildings.

So, tell us about how we started bringing sustainability into the organization through LEED and now through WELL, and just always being that champion through the industry and through the, through the company.

Jenn Taranto: So, in the early 2000s, we started to see some of the first RFPs that were asking for LEED requirements. And at the time, there was a huge educational gap. We were trying to figure out what LEED was, how it affected what we did, how it was different from what we did and how to service our clients. So, I remember Mike Ryan, who’s the director of operations in Boston, came to me with an RFP when I was a superintendent—I’d never actually seen or participated in an RFP before. He put it down and he said, “There’s this thing called LEED, I need you to figure out what it is and how we respond to it.”

I think at the same time, in New York there was also a push that was happening here internally and corporate was starting to round up people. We understood that becoming a LEED AP was an important thing, an important part of the puzzle on a project team. Uh, and so there was a corporate push to have many LEED APs in the company. And I was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of that first group. We had probably about 40, 50 people that we pooled together to train to take the LEED AP exam. And from there it was really a momentum that built up behind it. I started to answer RFP questions in Boston, I think word got out and then I started to get calls from New Jersey and I started to get calls from Connecticut and so on.

And then I started training other people within the organization to pass the LEED AP exam and we were heading into the recession, which was really interesting because while some of our projects work was starting to trail off, there was still a big demand within the projects that we did have for sustainability. And so, I was able to create a fulltime position out of that, simply doing sustainability across the organization.

Rob Leon: Right. So, you talked about that corporate push and I’ve got to explain how hard that was to get the corporate push, getting all of the people test prepped. We were doing study groups with, with people up in Boston and down here in New York after work and running boot camps. And you and Alan are on this roadshow of, of just training people, right. And it was really amazing.

And you know, there was a pretty big hill to climb at the beginning, but there were like a group of employees that were just like, “Yeah, we really want to do this.” It was good enrichment for their careers, it was getting ahead for their clients because you know what we’re all about is servicing our clients, right? That’s what it really comes down to and how are we going to be ahead of the curve? How do we differentiate ourselves? How are we going to meet the client’s needs before they even know that they have that need?

So, I think it was really, it was a pretty amazing time. I remember there was a lot of momentum here in New York. So, tell me about the differences you saw at the time in between New York and Boston.

Jenn Taranto: So, uh, so obviously the scale of our projects were smaller, but I think in some ways it made us a little bit more agile. We could pilot things a little bit easier on smaller projects. You know, we could teach some of our trusted partners and subcontractors what indoor air quality was and say, you know, listen, it’s written into your SMACNA and the guidelines. These are things you already know and you’re just not practicing them.

Rob Leon: Right. Did you see a big difference between the community of designers and construction managers up in Boston? Kind of pull in all together and saying, you know, say we need to take this client and this project and push the envelope. Did you see the same thing?

Jenn Taranto: So we did, but I think we saw it lag behind a little bit in terms of timing, which you guys were doing here. There were multiple things happening at the same time in Boston, so we were trying to get projects going, we were trying to showcase things and at the same time we were trying to pull together the industry and the community practitioners. Um, sort of, it happened a little more concurrently in Boston.

Rob Leon: No, it’s funny because when I think about Boston, I think it’s very cerebral. In New York, it’s just like, “Go, go, go—we’re just going to do it, we’re going to do it,” and there was a lot of that, uh, that engine behind it. So, it was really, again, it was, it was a great time. Now I’m going to ask you to compare and contrast that to the next big movement, which I think right now is WELL. Tell me about what you see in the WELL community on the design side, the real estate side and even the construction side.

Jenn Taranto: So what’s interesting about the wellness side is a lot of the obstacles that LEED had to face, things like what does it mean to certify a building? You know, like LEED brought that forward. It never existed before. And so, some of those hurdles had already been climbed and so I think that in some ways adoption is a little bit easier because people have their heads around it as, “This is a certification.”

I think in other ways, it’s a very personal type of certification system. And what I mean by that is to say, whereas LEED talks about environmental sustainability, it talks about, you know, managing natural resources. They seem a little bit intangible to people because they don’t affect them personally. But health and wellness does affect everyone personally, so there are a lot more emotions tied to the WELL building standard, which I think is also interesting. So, when you’re having conversations with people, there’s a, there’s a different engagement rate, um, and there’s a big uptick I think on the WELL side.

Designers are adopting wellness. They’re looking at different ways, especially for what they call active design, moving people through a space, making sure spaces are walkable, things are accessible, stairs are out in the open. And so, I think there’s a huge adoption by that community. What we’re really hoping to see in like the next wave is other stakeholders which you wouldn’t normally think of in the AEC community, like HR professionals and engaging them, facilities professionals, engaging them earlier on in the process. Uh, and then, you know, even in construction, there are definitely ways that we can help and add to that system.

Rob Leon: So it sounds like when you were talking about differences between LEED and WELL—and WELL is about the human being, it’s about the human experience within the workforce—we see, I think a lot of changes that are happening right now. Uh, one of the things that I see is that just in design, whether it’s residential or commercial, I see that the design is kind of graying those areas. I think that you can walk into an office right now and you know, with the collaborative spaces and the coffee bar areas and things like that, it’s becoming more and more to look like your home. Right? And probably a little bit vice versa.

When you see home design, it’s more open plan, especially in the city and apartments. You know, we kind of move between our work life and our office life because of technology, because of design and all these things. Uh, do you feel that that is one of the key components as to why WELL as being adopted so readily?

Jenn Taranto: Yeah, absolutely. I think behavior is a big part of it. So, in order to have deep behavioral changes, especially around health and wellness, you have to have consistency amongst some of those things that you’re doing that make those changes possible. And so, another thing that I think is really interesting is that when we talk about the personal aspect of it, is we talk about the way that employers really are interested in the health and wellbeing of their employees in a way that I feel like has shifted over time. Um, they’re not just workers in a box. It’s not just about, you know, churning out widgets every day, but it’s about making sure that you have happy workers and making sure you have productive workers. And one of the big things that I think that we noticed in our sustainability survey was this willingness to do post occupancy surveys. So earlier in my career, we would ask people if they wanted to do post occupancy surveys and I think that, resoundingly, we always heard, “Absolutely not, we do not want to hear what they have to say because then we’ll have to fix it and they’re going to complain and it’s going to be terrible.” But now we’re seeing this real willingness of employers to go back to their employees after they’ve moved into a space and saying, “Is this okay for you? What’s working? What’s not working and how do we make it better?”

Rob Leon: What do you, so what do you think drives that? So, you know, you think about the newer generation of employees coming into the workforce and, uh, it’s really what they’re demanding. And I think that, you know, even for myself, I see a drastic difference in not just the way the office looks, but even the aspirations of the younger generation. Yes, they, they want upward mobility, but at the same time they want flexibility in their life.

Jenn Taranto: Don’t forget, I mean, a huge component is also social. So, people are really engaged around being social in the office. And I think that that is—it’s certainly tied to mental health benefits, and I think that the open plan sort of leans to that. And I think that that’s another thing that the younger generation is more open to. You know, it’s not just like get to your desk and like do heads down work for eight hours a day and leave again. But they want to have social interactions. They want to enjoy what they’re doing and who they’re working with. And I think that a lot of the design and a lot of the wellness components lend to that.

Rob Leon: I agree. I agree. So, I want to shift gears a little bit because you had mentioned the sustainability survey. It’s the third year now that we’ve done it. First of all, tell me, you know, like your experience going through the process of, you know, we’ve developed those questions, we’ve evolved those questions you get to get all of the data back, pour through the data, see what our clients are saying, you know. Tell me what it means to you to, uh, to be putting a survey out there and getting those results.

Jenn Taranto: So, for me, it’s, um, it’s actually surprisingly it’s a yearlong thing. Um, I think that there’s maybe one and a half, two months of the year where we’re not actively doing something to either start the next survey or close out the one that we did prior. Uh, but the survey is sort of continuous in my mind. And the moment we close the survey, like the, I just, I’m itching always to get my hands on the data because what I want to know is I want to know where the value is. I want to know what’s driving the industry and I want to get that out to the industry as fast as possible so it can be utilized, uh, in order to just further sustainability, wellness, resilience, you know, see where the challenges are, see how we can answer those challenges, um, and just sort of continue to raise the bar every year.

Rob Leon: Tell me, like, what are the top three takeaways from that survey that, that stands out in your mind?

Jenn Taranto: So, the number one for me is that about 90% of people said that sustainability is already code or is becoming code. I think that was the top one for me. The next one is that only 43% of people are seeking external experience in addressing resilience. And the reason why that one is particularly striking is because, uh, it was the exact same number we got last year. So even though there were five major hurricanes between the previous survey and this one, and we had clients that were impacted in Houston, we had people and personnel that were impacted in Houston as well. Uh, that no more people where we’re seeking external expertise in resilience I think was pretty striking. And the final one has to do with third-party certifications. I think anecdotally, we’ve kind of felt that we’ve seen some third-party certifications drop off over the last year and the survey showed that while many of the certifications are still really well respected, that fewer people are inclined to actually certify.

Rob Leon: Hmm. That is an interesting thing. Do you think that is because there’s a dilution of that, with all the different certifications that are out there? Do you think there’s a confusion or do you think that there’s a, “which one do I get” kind of attitude?

Jenn Taranto: Yeah, I think there’s a bunch of different variables. So, another statistic that I pulled from the survey, is 57% of people said that there are just too many certifications altogether. So I think that there is a confusion about where do we start, which one do we go with, um, what’s the most meaningful, what’s the most impactful. I think that there’s a lot of work to be done all along that road for clients, uh, in upfront and in the beginning. But I think the other part of it is, you know, we operate in a lot of major municipalities and major municipalities have taken on LEED or LEED-like items within the building code. And so, there’s a real complacency within the built environment that if you’re building to code, then you’re building sustainably inherently. And I think that what we need to be doing is looking at ways to continue to push the envelope beyond code.

Rob Leon: So, I think that kind of puts validation to the other survey results that we got, where are we said 90 something percent of the respondents feel it already is code of becoming code. So between municipalities, building it into the building codes and energy codes and the fact that the design side is adopting a lot of the properties of, of good sustainable design as well, kind of makes you feel, I guess that well I’m getting a—quote unquote—very good baseline sustainable project without even going for the certification.

And maybe even they are looking at certification, as far as you know, checking the boxes on the paper, but not physically paying for the plaque and paying for the process. So, was there any uh, feedback in the survey about that? Did we get deep into the weeds about why?

Jenn Taranto: So, no specific questions, but in the open answer questions. We, you know, we’ve heard a lot about cost. Cost is a big barrier to the certifications and it continues to be. Three years running cost has come out as the number one barrier to any certification, whether it’s wellness or sustainability. But I think that within some cases there’s a lack of accepted standards. So, we talk about wellness, we’ve got the WELL building standard, but it is not a governmental standard. It is not, you know, forced. It’s a volunteer a standard, and so people are sort of wayfinding on just how much do they need to do and when. And fundamentally, I think, you know, what I’d like to say is I love certifications. I love that they allow for us to have metrics and to benchmark things in a true way where we get third-party validation, but I don’t always feel that they’re necessary or the right fit for a project. But I do feel like measuring is always necessary to validate what you’ve done and to, to prove it going.

Rob Leon: I would agree 100%. I think, you know, the thing that we have to try to get the industry to change from is the conversation of cost to value. What is the value that we, that the clients get from doing the certification, from going that extra step from just saying it’s being done on paper to actually verifying that it has been vetted out by a third-party. And yeah, at the end of the day you get a plaque, but it’s more really the recognition of somebody from the outside saying that the project is meeting the standards.

Jenn Taranto: And I think that’s a real struggle within the industry. I think that so many people either internal to their organizations or you know, maybe even if it’s people from the design team, and owner’s reps’ firms have a real hard time with that ROI conversation and really figuring out what the value is to an organization.

Rob Leon: Absolutely. I mean I think it’s been the, the struggle from day one with LEED and there’s two pieces to the cost, right? It’s the cost of design and construction physically, and then there’s a soft cost of having the process go through a consultant for the third-party validation. So, there’s two parts to the cost. So again, you know, about the survey, tell me, have you seen trends from year one to year two to year three that stand out to you?

Jenn Taranto: So, you know, I already mentioned the cost being the number one consistently year over year. Another trend that we’ve seen is that LEED is by far the most respected of the third-party rating systems. Uh, this year we sort of unpacked that a little bit more. And so LEED came in number one with Energy Star coming in behind it. It was the first time we’d asked about energy star as a rating system, uh, and then WELL coming in third. And the other trend I would say is that we’ve seen a steep incline and interest in the wellness side of things over time.

Rob Leon: Right. And I think that’s a, um, that’s a very broad word. Wellness is a, is thrown around everywhere we see right now. You know it’s like the new “organic,” let’s say, right? So, when we asked the question about wellness, are we specifically talking about the WELL standard or are we asking them about general wellness, whether it’s amenities or pieces of design? How did we ask that question?

Jenn Taranto: I think that we sort of let clients define it on their own in that we just sort of asked the blanket statement like “What are your goals around wellness?” And we let them tell us as a starting point. It gives us a way to kind of gauge what their understanding is of WELL. And then we can start to pull other elements in and say, “Hey, did you think about, you know, you’ve, you’ve got this great area over here, you could do a micro kitchen, uh, and get some healthy food in there or you know, did you think about relocating the stair over here, making it accessible and open,” you know. So, there are opportunities once we sort of hear what their goals are, their mindsets are.

Rob Leon: So, you talked about it earlier, you said, you mentioned that right now the um, the industry and everything that we, who we interface with is really on the real estate and construction side and facilities management side even. But it sounds like, on the wellness side we also need to interact and engage with the human resources piece.

Jenn Taranto: Actually, interesting that you say that because I just had this conversation with the USGBC Massachusetts chapter. Uh, yesterday we were talking about how we were going to roll out some education stuff around wellness in the next year, and I’m like, you’re missing this whole group of stakeholders and they also have budget, you know, and that’s the other thing is that you know, that one of the ways you can incorporate wellness into a physical space is by using not just capital budget, but using HR budget as well.

Rob Leon: Absolutely. I think it’s a great point that I think we saw that here, right? So before we go into the conversation about our process, just to end up on the survey. So again, you know, we’re a client service industry, right? That’s what it’s all about. Yes, we have to be building their spaces, but what it really comes down to is we put our clients first and we’re here to serve our clients. What do you hope to get from the results of the survey and how will that impact how we deliver services to our clients?

Jenn Taranto: I think at the end of the day, the best outcome for the survey is that we are able to best identify amongst types of groups of stakeholders that we work with frequently and being able to talk to them about what their peers are doing and being able to sort of level set the conversation by saying, you know, we see that law firms tend to do this and we see the data centers tend to do this. And sort of really building a conversation that’s specific to their needs and being able to, to your point, you know, we want them to see us as a trusted advisor. So we want to be speaking their language and talking about their specific needs.

Rob Leon: Absolutely. And I think that that’s a good segue into the reason why we wanted to be WELL certified for our new office when we moved here. You know, part of it was that there was a general acceptance by ownership at the time that we have to go into this, this new direction of wellness. And when we went and said, well, we’re going to move from downtown to here, to 34th Street, and we had an opportunity to be WELL certified and go down that path, um, it was, uh, it was a minor struggle I have to say, it was. Because of budget obviously, right? It’s always about budget. But I think once we, uh, talked about, you know, uh, we sliced and diced it and we talked about it in value instead of costs, everybody got on board. It really was about wanting to tell our clients that we’ve gone through the process that we’ve done it ourselves, so we can say that we know from experience that, you know, we know how to deliver, a WELL certified project to our clients because we’ve done it for ourselves. And just tell me about your experience with both the design and construction team and getting everybody on the same page to deliver the WELL certified project.

Jenn Taranto: Yeah, you sort of said it. Ownership was, was a, was a minor struggle to get them on board. And once we got their buy in, once we had their green light, I think that that was a much easier for the construction team to adopt it. I think at first, they were trying to, you know, we were going 900 miles-an-hour and we decided to do WELL certification about a month and a half into construction—and we had a crazy schedule to begin with. And so, the guys were not wanting to adopt anything on top of the million things that we were already doing.

Rob Leon: And that could have been anything—whatever we threw at them, there was just not enough time because it wasn’t design-build, it was actually build-design here.

Jenn Taranto: Yeah, no, absolutely. Um, and so there was a lot of, uh, items we had identified and as you said, we were going through some, uh, we were going through some budget discussions and so there were things that I was just trying to keep safe. And saying like, “Cut anything but X, Y, and Z. Like, we really are going to need X, Y, and Z. We feel like we’re going to make the decision to go WELL. And so, I don’t want you to lose traction on those items.”

The only thing that we had to come back for was the lighting. We had released the lighting and everybody kind of took a deep breath because anytime you go back to a lighting manufacturer and make a change, the worry is that you go to the end of the line. Uh, but we were lucky enough that that was just, you know, a temperature bulb change and it didn’t result in any big hiccups. And we delivered the space on time. And I think in all, the team was really interested in learning more about how this was going to contribute. And so, anytime I think you build your own project, you’re scrutinized in ways you wouldn’t normally be scrutinized by your peers, by your colleagues that, you know, they’re getting asked a million questions. And so, they wanted to deliver the best space I think for their colleagues, for their, for the other people that they work with as well.

Rob Leon: And because it was relatively so new, you know, the WELL standard, what was the design team’s reaction on the architecture side?

Jenn Taranto: They were learning at the same time, which was kind of interesting because we were the first in New York. And so, some of this was still treading new territory. We would get to a feature and we say, “we really want to achieve this, can we,” because it’s not overly prescriptive, “what if we did it this way?” And you know, there was a lot of conversation, there was a lot of wrangling.

Rob Leon: Absolutely. And the feedback through our surveys, right, the post-occupancy surveys, has been incredible. Can you can talk about that a bit?

Jenn Taranto: Yeah, no, absolutely. And it’s interesting because when I do, you know, sort of like high-level WELL presentations, I always close out with the slides that show our pre and post occupancy surveys because we had statistically significant increases in everything. Um, my favorite slide is the one where you see that people bring their best selves to work every day, that they enjoy coming to this space, that they think that the organization has …

Rob Leon: And also, let’s put this into perspective. You come through, you know, we’re at 34th street, right by Penn Station. But this is an oasis once you get here.

Jenn Taranto: Absolutely. And I think that that lent itself to the decision to, to seek WELL certification as well. But again, you know, people believe that the organization has the best interest of their health and wellness at heart and we saw huge increases in that. We also saw, you know, increases in things that you would expect. Indoor air quality, and to your point, the difference between uh, where we were at 770 Broadway in that bucolic, sort of very neighborhood-feel, with shops and farmer’s markets right here to where we are now, people actually cited an increase in safety and security.

Rob Leon: That’s very interesting. That’s really interesting. So, we’re going to be going for recertification, correct? We’ll be in the space, I guess June will be three years already. So, tell us about that process of what we have to do for recertification.

Jenn Taranto: So, what’s interesting is that we’re going into recertification and they’ve just started to, to release a WELL Version 2.0.0. So, one of the reasons why that’s important is because I think that everybody has seen the WELL certification as a starting point, not as an ending point. It wasn’t like we got certified and, phew, that’s done, we don’t have to think about it for three years. But we’ve continued to make strides and gains not only in this office. You guys have added some other benefits, uh, since we got certification. So, we’re excited to kind of loop that in to the recertification process and see where we get and where we’ve gone.

Rob Leon: Absolutely and I think that point is the most exciting, because, you know, when we talk about how we’re going to continue the branding of the office, we talked about bringing in the novel walls, right? The plant walls, which are great, it humidifies and filters, really great. Uh, and just also when we talk about like some of the graphics that we’re going to put it in here, it’s going to be a little bit more towards the natural environment, than let’s just say the “construction environment.” Typically, what you would see is pictures of buildings and things like that. So, I’m really excited about that.

I wanted to ask this question. You know, you and I both got a chance to review Version 2.0 of the WELL standard. Because we were the first here in New York, do you see the direct impact in version two from our personal experience?

Jenn Taranto: Absolutely. You know, one of the things that, that I always come back to is the acoustics for this office and testing this office for acoustics. It was a real eye-opener that they couldn’t have a hard stop on what the NC rating was for any different type of room. And so, from there became an addendum to this existing standard even before Version 2.0 came out, where they gave you these bands of thresholds that you had to be between depending on what your certification level was. Um, I think it was things like that, that it came directly out of our project and our experience.

Rob Leon: Yeah, I agree. But being in that first certification because of our alliance partnerships that we have, we kind of are in this small circle of influencers, you know. On one hand, guinea pigs, and on the other hand influencers, right? But it’s, it’s a really cool place to be.

Jenn Taranto: Yeah, absolutely. I think the other thing that’s really interesting about being in the sustainability circles of the AEC environment is that there’s this complete transparency. That whether it’s sustainability or wellness, that there’s this sharing of information amongst colleagues, peers, competitors, you know. We’re all after the same goal, which is just sort of, you know, it’s that, that quote: “Rising tides raise all boats.” And so, there’s a complete openness. So, we’re, we always are happy to share it at all.

Rob Leon: I think that’s great. I think that when you work in that realm of the academic side and the implementation side, of wanting to change the industry, whether it’s design, construction, real estate, the way real estate is marketed and sold. It has to be in a level playing field. There is, there are no competitors. There are only peers.

Jenn Taranto: Right.

Rob Leon: So Jenn, this has been an incredibly interesting conversation. I really thank you for coming here today and I look forward to seeing what’s going to happen in the future and sustainability.

Jenn Taranto: Yeah, absolutely. It was wonderful to talk to you as well.

Outro: Have you ever wondered what it takes to reposition a high-rise building in the middle of Manhattan? Tune in next month to explore building repositioning in New York City’s fast-paced construction world. Thanks for listening to Building Conversations.