THE SALLAN FOUNDATION ANNUAL REPORT 2010
Executive Director's Report
When the Sallan Foundation opened its doors in January 2005, PlaNYC was just a gleam in Mayor Bloomberg's eye. The number of high performance buildings could have been counted on fingers and toes and many dismissed them as exotic and expensive, erected and occupied by a coterie of committed tree-huggers. With the economy booming and energy habits soaring on a tide of effervescent expectations and electronic gizmos, the need to do something about every-rising operating expenses, peak load management of the power grid or paying - some day - for more electric generation capacity, did not keep planners or the public awake at night. In so far as these issues were part of the public agenda or market decisions, cities were not seen as the place where the action was.
That was then. The world of 2010 was different indeed. Hopes for climate change action at the federal and international level had shriveled and the cities of the world, home to 50% of the people on the planet, became the vanguard of sustainability, resilience, innovation and adaptation. Just three years after its initial launch, PlaNYC 2030 needed to be updated as city leaders and the public learned-by-doing. A local law made PlaNYC "sticky" so that its prescriptions for action could not be easily ignored or overlooked by future mayors, while the impact of the Greener Greater Building laws began to be felt. In this time of challenge and opportunity, Sallan continued to demonstrate an ability to perform as an agent for reimagining the roles and goals of the metropolis.
The Foundation develops projects and strikes up working partnerships that shine a light on sustainability in global cities that can be executed at an urban scale. Nancy E. Anderson, Ph.D., Sallan's Executive Director, mobilizes the Foundation's resources with the objective of identifying, incubating and disseminating emerging trends and practices that have the capacity to 'green' the built environment and bring its underlying infrastructure into the 21st Century. Its strategy is to assemble the best ideas for making cities into centers of environmental innovation and resilience. The Foundation cultivates effective advocacy but is not aligned with any profession, discipline or political parties. As such, it serves as an independent convener and facilitator of stakeholder collaborations and as an educator in the public realm.
The Sallan Foundation accomplished the following:
Broadcasting Emerging Ideas
The Sallan website, evolved as a core communications tool of the Foundation's work. Over time, it has continued to prove its worth by refining its content and broadcast methods
Web Site Content — Sallan's website served as an essential instrument for advancing the Foundation's missions and the torrid growth o social media offered channels for contact with new audiences. A database containing 1,500 contacts is evidence of its ability to connect. Links to stories on domestic, international and research developments were continuously updated. In response to emerging issues like the controversy over PACE bond financing, Sallan created a "Green Finance" page.
Original Content — The guest "Snapshot" column was published eight times in 2010, on subjects ranging from technical analysis of benchmarking and data disclosure to the C-40 meeting in Hong Kong. Dr. Anderson's own "Torchlight" was posted seven times on such topics as green finance, climate adaption and the need for tenacious green urban policies.
Special Features — The website highlights Sallan-related public events through photo and text collages, white papers and other media assets. Readers can — and do — download Power Points and other materials provided by event participants. This year the Smart Grid conference, the Climate Adaptation panel and the Reimagining the Metropolis forum were prominently featured. Sallan's Executive Director was invited to write a column for the on-line REIT Cafe about leading developments in public policy that foster high performance building development.
Social Media — Sallan began to post daily on Twitter and has some 280 followers. Impact is monitored through metrics like 'retweeting' and 'mentions'.
In Other Media — Sallan established a presence of the Sustainable Cities Collective website by posting two articles and notices about Sallan-sponsored events. It continues to post on-line in the New York Times, Yale University's 360, Gotham Gazette and the Council on Foreign Relations blog.
Fostering an Informed Public
In 2010, Sallan developed, produced and participated in conferences and panels with the goal of fostering an informed public that gives priority to sustainable urban agendas. The Foundation's strategy was to solicit participation of scholarly and professional experts, media and advocate to identify and advance core green urban issues. Dr. Anderson also undertook public speaking engagements and university-level lectures.
- New York University The Sallan Foundation approached the NYU Wagner School, the CUNY Building Performance Lab and the New York League of Conservation Voters with a proposal to develop a conference on the "Smart Grid For Smart Cities: Opportunities and Challenges". This half-day conference was held at NYU, with speakers from the utility industry, finance and IBM, academia and government. It was covered in the Scientific American.
- New York City Council At the request of the City Council Environmental Protection Committee, Dr. Anderson presented testimony on wind power and its urban potential.
- Pratt Institute & Terrapin Bright Green Based on a successful Sallan-sponsored panel series in 2005, with partners Pratt Institute and Terrapin, two forums of the four-part "Reimagining the Metropolis" project were held this year. The Executive Director moderated the first panel on "The Big Picture" with speakers from the Mayor's Office, Jonathan Rose Companies and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
- NYU Real Estate Institute Again, Dr. Anderson joined the faculty of the NYU "Dollars and Sense" certificate program. Separately, she lectured at NYU Real Estate Institute on the implications of New York City's Greener Greater Building Plan.
- Continuing Legal Education The Executive Director was invited to lecture on PACE bond legislation at a continuing legal education class.
- The Economist Magazine Nancy spoke about the importance of measurement and verification in achieving building energy efficiency at "Show Me the Money: Financing Today's Energy Challenges", a conference hosted by The Economist magazine and Siemens.
In 2010, the Foundation furthered its goal of stimulating effective advocacy for greener cities by taking concrete steps to meet its objective of fusing useful knowledge with collaborations to advance a high performance urban agenda. These steps included participation on boards, taskforces and advisory groups whose aims are consonant with the Foundation's mission.
- CUNY — Dr. Anderson has chaired regular meetings of the CUNY Building Performance Lab Consortium and she has helped to plan each meeting for four years. The Consortium's goals include developing and sharing green building academic research and curriculum tailored to the needs and interests of New York City's commercial real estate community. Retrofit and finance, staff skills training and web site development were major topics. She also served as a reader on a draft report, "Energy Efficiency Retrofitting for NYC Commercial Buildings" written by a Consortium member that provided an overview of available technologies and financing models.
- NYC Apollo Alliance — Since 2005, the Foundation has been a member of the Alliance's Steering Committee. The 2010 focus was on analyzing the flow of federal stimulus funds to New York City and State in the areas of energy efficiency and green job development.
- New York Academy of Sciences — For a fourth year, the Foundation served on two green science advisory groups that provided concepts, themes and speakers' lists to staff for developing a year's worth of public programs. Through her participation, Dr. Anderson was invited to moderate one panel on carbon offsets and developed a second panel on climate adaptation strategies for New York City and their implications for other coastal urban centers.
- NYS Department of Environmental Conservation — At the request of the Regional Administrator, Sallan continued work on DEC's Sea Level Rise and Adaptation advisory group. Pursuant to State law, DEC was completing a report for the Legislature on planning options for how New York should address sea level rise impacts related to climate change.
- New York League of Conservation Voters — Sallan continued to work with the "Green Group", which shares information on local environmental legislation and discusses how to devise objective metrics to rate the role of elected officials in advancing a green agenda.
- Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Green Finance Subcommittee — As an informal member of this group, Sallan had the opportunity to become better known to emerging green businesses and representatives of established companies with commitments to sustainable practices and products. At the same time, participation provided a deeper understanding of the trajectory of green businesses in Manhattan. Dr. Anderson was invited to give a presentation on the demise of the PACE bond program for residential energy upgrades.
- Bard College — The Foundation participated at an advisory meeting and follow-up discussions about the establishment of a Bard College MBA program in sustainability.