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What Makes a Smart Sustainable Technology? With Sonu Panda and Becca Rushin

24.10.22

In the eighth episode of Season 10 of the Propcast, host Louisa Dickins is joined by Sonu Panda, the CEO of Prescriptive Dataand Becca Rushin, the Director of ESG at Jamestown. Becca and Sonu discuss challenges in the industry including the impact of the current geopolitical climate and whether this will slow down the journey to net zero.

Becca and Sonu share their career journeys to ESG and technology. In this episode you’ll hear Sonu explain more about script data and how it improves sustainability in buildings. Becca talks about Jamestown’s sustainability and social responsibility initiatives and shares information on their green program and charitable foundation.

The key takeaway from this episode is that people want to work in healthy buildings and environments, however, achieving carbon neutrality through offsets is not enough. Instead, true science based approaches are what’s needed to tackle the bigger issue of climate change.

Resources:

Companies Mentioned:

Shout Outs:

 

Key Insights From This Episode:  

  • So much of what we do is a function of the deep thoughts that our customers have and the feedback that we receive. – Sonu
  • I think the holy grail for a tech company is to find some sort of portfolio deployment that works for every single asset, everyone wants that package deal. – Becca
  • I see a more widespread recognition that climate change is real, that achieving carbon neutrality through offsets is not enough, and that true science based approaches are what’s called for – Sonu
  • One thing that is really important about our portfolio is that it is very diverse, we don’t own glass office towers, we have a lot of special snowflakes. – Becca
  • People want to work in healthy buildings and environments, these are the things that people are paying attention to, it’s the new employee value proposition. – Louisa

Keywords:Climate Change, Real Estate, Proptech, Sustainability

 

About Our Guests:

Sonu Panda:

Sonu Panda is the CEO of Prescriptive Data, a privately-held SaaS company focused on the intersection of the Internet of Things, big data, and machine learning as applied to built environments of all types. Sonu develops and executes Prescriptive Data’s business and technology strategy, and oversees all functions within the company, including sales, business development, marketing, customer onboarding and success, engineering, talent management, finance and administrative operations. Prior to Prescriptive Data, Panda most recently served as the co-founder and COO of H.Bloom, a B2B marketplace company, where he developed the company’s operational model, established both product/technology development and process engineering efforts and managed day-to-day business operations. 

Becca Rushin:

Becca Rushin the Director of ESG at Jamestown. She leads environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives through the Jamestown Green program and the Jamestown Charitable Foundation. Prior to joining Jamestown in 2012, Ms Rushin worked as a local government consultant for Clark Patterson Lee, where she served as Community Development Coordinator and Sustainability Commission Staff Liaison for the City of Dunwoody. She is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and holds a LEED AP O+M credential. Ms Rushin is an active volunteer with the Urban Land Institute, the US Green Building Council, and Community Farmers Markets. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Environmental Policy from Sewanee: the University of the South and a Master of Science in Sustainable Development: Environmental Policy and Management from Utrecht University.

About Jamestown:

Jamestown is a global, design-focused real estate investment and management firm with a 38-year track record and mission to create places that inspire. Since its founding in 1983, Jamestown has executed transactions in excess of $35 billion. As of June 30, 2022, Jamestown has assets under management of $13.1 billion and a portfolio spanning key markets throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. Jamestown employs more than 400 people worldwide with headquarters in Atlanta and Cologne, and offices in Amsterdam, Bogotá, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. Current and previous projects include One Times Square and Chelsea Market in New York, Industry City in Brooklyn, Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, the Innovation and Design Building in Boston, and Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam. For more information, visit www.jamestownLP.com.

About Prescriptive Data: 

Prescriptive Data is the creator of Nantum OS, an award-winning platform optimising building’s operational performance while saving energy, reducing carbon emissions, and lowering costs without sacrificing occupant health or comfort. Combining historical data with predictive analysis and real-time occupancy, Nantum OS enables buildings to hit their ESG goals.

https://twitter.com/prescriptivedat
https://www.facebook.com/prescriptivedata

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.

About LMRE

LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.

From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.

At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

 

Timestamps:

[2:43] Becca: How did you get to become in the ESG space at Jamestown and how do you know Sonu?

  • I learnt about sustainability whilst I was studying environmental policy, from there I decided to go to the Netherlands to study sustainable development.
  • Over the last ten years I have focused on putting systems into place that have evolved from the benchmarking of monthly utility performance to more robust energy management platforms.
  • I first heard about Prescriptive Data through a friend of mine that worked there. I then sat on a panel with Sonu and listened to John Gilbert from Rudin talk about the evolution of the Nantum platform.

[5:41] Sonu: How did you become CEO of Prescriptive Data and can you tell us more about the product?

  • I have always been in the enterprise software business, when I had my son I started thinking about how I can work in a field that is fundamentally important to the world and what will have an impact, this led me to meeting Rudin Management.
  • Prescriptive Data started as a project within the Rudin Management portfolio, we are now entirely independent. Our original premise was the idea that commercial offices exist to provide productive and comfortable workplaces, a big part of that is indoor air quality and thermal comfort.
  • We used occupancy sensors so we could learn the rhythms of the building and correlate with the technology controlling the air quality in the buildings. This was the beginning of the Nantum OS.

[12:33] Becca: Can you talk us through Jamestown’s initiatives, what your strategy is and what you’re working on at the moment?

  • The Jamestown Green program and the Jamestown Charitable Foundation are ultimately about our efforts to reduce Jamestown’s impact on the environment and support the communities where we own property and where we operate. 
  • The Charitable Foundation was established to help host community events that benefit nonprofits. We invest in metropolitan centres and then support the nonprofits that make those cities more desirable places to work.
  • The Jamestown Green program is for sustainability efforts. We look to find management practices and initiatives that help increase our net operating income, drive financial performance at our assets and make our assets more valuable 

[16:45] Becca: Are there any other companies that you are piloting on the portfolio that are helping to reduce emissions more specific to ESG?

  •  I’ve been focused on first just having a system in place, and over the last couple of years focusing more on the quality of the platform and matching specific tech solutions and providers with a specific type of asset.
  • We have partnered with a company called Carbon Lighthouse, they identify energy saving products that the team then implements. They help back up those projections with their energy models and monitor the projects so they stay in place over the long term.

[19:22] Sonu: What is the main challenge you face in the industry?

  • Everybody is worried about the geopolitical situation, however I try not to think about it, largely because there is so much momentum around sustainability.
  • I see a more widespread recognition that climate change is real, that achieving carbon neutrality through offsets is not enough and that true science based approaches are what’s called for.

 

L– Touch on the main lessons you have learnt throughout your career.

Sonu – The RHINO principle, keep your eye on the prize, there is an impact to be made, we are doing really important work and we must stay focused on it.

M – Please give a mention to anyone / product / service.

Becca –  I think that part of the reason that I’ve been successful is because I’ve been relentless about networking and finding partnerships.

R – What has been the most  rewarding  aspect of working in PropTech?

Sonu: The fact that we are working on something that is a shared concern and if we resolve it will be a shared benefit.

E – What are you excited about in the future of PropTech? 

Sonu answered earlier in the show: I’m excited about the transition towards net zero I’ve witnessed in the last six months. I think it’s a great opportunity because people have realised something needs to be done.

 

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